When the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, they will do so knowing their playoff fortunes are entirely back in their own hands. A New York Islanders loss to the Washington Capitals means the Penguins cap leap frog the Islanders into a playoff position with a victory tonight. The Florida Panthers also lost but still gained a point going to overtime and currently sit in the top wild card spot, two points ahead of the Penguins.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.
It all comes down to this for the Penguins and their playoff hopes. Just two games remain and they sit one point out of a playoff spot. All they can control is what they do on the ice and hopes it breaks their way in the end. [Pensburgh]
If Friday rolls around and the Penguins find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoffs they will only have themselves to blame. Too many times this season did they drop points against teams where anything less than a win was inexcusable. [The Hockey News]
If practice on Monday was any indication, it looks to be nearly all hands on deck for the Penguins final playoff push. Everyone besides Drew O’Connor was a full participant though everyone will likely remain a game time decision for tomorrow. [The Hockey News]
Back when the season started in October, there were a handful of players on the roster with big question marks. Guys like Evgeni Malkin and Rickard Rakell answered those questions while many others did not fair quite as well. [Pensburgh]
After a second stroke sidelined Kris Letang earlier this season it could have been very easy for the defenseman to step away from the game he loved. Instead, Letang returned in no time at all and has now been selected as the team’s Masterson nominee. [Penguins]
This playoff streak for the Penguins has been nothing short of legendary and is unheard of in a salary cap world. How long it continues is up to them, starting tonight. [KDKA]
This week marked the end of the line for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ playoff hopes. The Baby Pens were officially eliminated on Wednesday but got some sort of recourse over the weekend by delivering a death blow to a rival. [Pensburgh]
News and notes from around the NHL...
On Monday, all 32 teams across the NHL announced their respective nominees for the Masterson Trophy. Players are nominated by their local PHWA chapter and the winner will be announced at the annual NHL Awards this summer. [The Hockey News]
Thank you, Capitals. [Lighthouse Hockey]