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Pens get boost in playoff chances with Islanders, Panthers losses

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

On a night when the Penguins had to sit and watch the standings and hope for some things to go their way — a few things did turn out favorable for Pittsburgh’s playoff chances.

Heading into the evening, the Penguins sat one point behind the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders, each who had the chance to seal playoff spots by winning their remaining two games.

According to Micah Blake McCurdy’s model at HockeyViz, the Penguins went into Monday evening’s games with a 43% chance of making the playoffs.


Thanks to an Islanders loss to the Capitals, the Penguins got a 12% boost. However, the Panthers were able to claw back and take the Maple Leafs to overtime, cutting into Pittsburgh’s chances by 5%. Add another 1% hit from Buffalo winning in the shootout against the Rangers, and all-in-all, at the end of the night, the Penguins chances improved slightly from 43% to 49%.

The bigger story after these games, though, is that the Penguins now control their own path to the postseason. Going into last night, the team needed some help, and they got it.

Now, with two games remaining, the Penguins just need to beat the two worst teams in the NHL, standings-wise, in the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Things are far from a sure thing, especially in the NHL where anything can happen, but things have swung dramatically in just one night and the Penguins now will decide their own fate.

A Penguins win against the Blackhawks tomorrow would provide a significant swing and put the team within one more win of locking up their 17th straight postseason appearance.

Puck drop at PPG Paints Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.