Even though it’s been an all-but-inevitable reality for a couple of weeks now, it’s a huge relief to finally see an “X” next to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings. Especially with just one game remaining in their 82-game regular season slate.
By virtue of their 4-1 win in Detroit tonight, the Penguins officially clinched their 13th-straight playoff berth and keep their impressive consecutive postseason record in the salary cap era alive.
The Penguins’ emotional roller coaster of a season was saved by an incredible March once again (as if that isn’t expected by now), and all of our concerns and concerns from the beginning of the year can be wiped away … for now, at least.
They’ll likely draw the Islanders in the first round, but the battle for the No. 2 spot in the Metro and home ice advantage is still anyone’s game. NYI released 2-1 to the Maple Leafs in regulation Monday night and faced with the Florida Panthers where they won in a shootout.
Pittsburgh now seats three points at 99. If the Isles (101) don’t get two points in their tilt Saturday, and the penguins win in regulation or in a shootout, by rules of the tie tie breaker and goal differential, Pittsburgh gets home ice in round 1.
But enough of that … PARTY HARD, PITTSBURGH. 19659007]