Pittsburgh Penguins Must Beat Division Rivals


The Pittsburgh Penguins will play their division rivals in 21 of their remaining 37 regular season games.

If they are going to make the playoffs this year, the Penguins will need to take down their intra-division foes in well more than half of those contests.  As it stands currently, the Pens sit in fourth place within the Metropolitan division, with 61 points.  They trail the New York Islanders by one point, the New York Rangers by six points, and the Washington Capitals by a hefty 21 points.  If the playoffs were to start today, the Penguins would hold a wildcard spot, by virtue of having played less games than the New Jersey Devils, even though both teams have 61 points.

Looking at the teams which the Pens are chasing, the Islanders are the ones they really need to set their sights on.  Four of their remaining 21 Metropolitan division games will come against the boys in the blue and orange from Brooklyn.

Penguins vs Flyers
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Yes, the Pens do have five games remaining against the Rangers.  Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Rangers put some distance between themselves and Pittsburgh in the standings.  And with the game at home last night against the Rangers, we see how tough it can be to put the puck past Henrik Lundqvist.  Even more so when Evgeni Malkin is out of action.  We’ll need to take at least two of those games from the Rangers though.  

Putting our focus back on the Isles, three of the four remaining games need to be victories for the Pens.  We beat them earlier this season by a score of 5-2, with a heaping 43 shots on net.  Now we need to keep those performances up against the Islanders.  There’s no reason we can’t and shouldn’t win at least three of those four games.  If we put enough shots on net, good things will happen.

This doesn’t mean we can lay down against the other divisional foes though.  We’ll be in Carolina tomorrow night facing the Hurricanes and a win there would go a long way.  Especially considering they are only four points behind us in the division.  

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Our remaining games against the Columbus Blue Jackets should all be wins. At least two of our three games against the Philadelphia Flyers should be wins as well.  Let’s hope we don’t need the last game of the season at Philadelphia to be a win in order for us to make the playoffs.

What do you say, Penguins fans?