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PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– It took 81 games, but the Penguins have finally clinched a playoff spot in 2019.
The Penguins now have the second-longest active playoff streak for all professional sports teams. The only team with a longer streak is the San Antonio Spurs.
“PLAYOFF BOUND! The @penguins’ 13-year streak is not only the NHL’s longest active playoff streak, but it’s also the longest run in club history.”
Now that the Pens are back in the dance, the question becomes where the Pens will enter the postseason in terms of seeding?
With one game remaining, Pittsburgh has 99 points, which pits them in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division behind the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. The Caps won Thursday night, which clinched the first seed in the Metro. The second seed in the division is still up for grabs, as the Penguins are just two points back from the Isles.
If the Penguins beat the New York Rangers in regulation at home on Saturday and the Islanders lose to the Capitals in regulation, the teams will be tied with 101 points. The Pens would top the Isles in the Metro because of the tiebreaker and Pittsburgh would get home ice in round one against the Islanders.
The Penguins would clinch at least the 3rd seed in the Metro with a win or overtime loss. Pittsburgh would face the Islanders and start the first round series on the road in that case.
Things get a little hairy if the Pens lose on Saturday. If the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Flyers, the Penguins will still hold the third seed in the Metro. But, if Carolina wins and the Penguins lose in regulation, the two teams would be tied with 99 points, and the Hurricanes hold the tiebreaker over the Pens. That would drop Pittsburgh to the first Wild Card spot, where they would face the Washington Capitals in a series starting in D.C. next week.
Again, just like Thursday, the path is a little bit easier if the Penguins win on Saturday. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next week.