All the Penguins needed to do was win their remaining two games against the two worst teams in the NHL, statistically — but on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh failed to handle its business, and now the team’s chances of making the postseason have taken a huge hit.
After getting some much-needed help on Monday night, the Penguins were put back in the driver seat and in control of their own path to the postseason.
A win against the Blackhawks and a win against the Blue Jackets would be good enough to punch their ticket to the playoffs for the 17th straight season.
However, the Penguins came up short, falling 5-2 to the lowly Blackhawks.
With the loss on Monday night, the Penguins chances of making the playoffs took a big hit, going from a 52% chance of qualifying going into the game to now only having a 15% chance of getting in (according to HockeyViz).
Had the Penguins taken care of business, their chances would have jumped to a near 70% favorability. Instead, the Penguins sit with just a 15% chance and need to get some help again.
In order to qualify for the playoffs, the Penguins must beat the Blue Jackets on Thursday night, but before they even take the ice, they’ll have to be rooting for the Montreal Canadiens to play spoiler and knock off the New York Islanders.
Should the Islanders garner just a single point out of their contest with the Canadiens tonight, it’ll be the Islanders and Panthers with the two wild card spots and the Penguins on the outside looking in.
If the Canadiens are able to beat the Islanders, the Penguins will still need to take care of business and beat the Blue Jackets with their final game of the season.