Gameday 81: By A Thread

Quick one today. The Pittsburgh Penguins no longer control their playoff destiny as everything went against them on Saturday. On top of their 6-4 loss against the Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals also won their games, so the Penguins sit one point behind both of those teams for the second Wild Card with everyone at 80 games played. Pittsburgh is also behind the New York Islanders by four points for third in the Metropolitan Division; if the Islanders win either of their last two games (against the Devils and Penguins), they lock up that spot. The Penguins still hold the key regulation wins tiebreaker over Detroit and Washington so there’s still some hope, but Pittsburgh cannot afford another loss and they need those teams to lose at least one game. (The Capitals host Boston tonight then finish the season in Philadelphia tomorrow; the Red Wings also have a back-to-back to end the season, a home-and-home set against Montreal.)

If it was December or January and the Penguins had just gone 7-1-3 over their last eleven games, we’d be thrilled. At this point however Pittsburgh’s margin for error is now as close to zero as it gets. Their reward for this eleventh hour push could be both missing the playoffs and losing their first round pick. All they can do now is win and hope their rivals don’t.