The Penguins couldn’t find a way to beat Johan Hedberg and found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 score as time expired. The loss, combined with the Devils win, ended the Birds hopes of securing the Atlantic Division title and the #2 seed. It also locked the Pens in as the number four seed in the East and a date with the Ottawa Senators.
The 4/5 match-up with the Senators will mark the third time in four seasons that the Penguins and Senators have met in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It will be interesting to see how this series plays out, especially considering that each team has won a series in embarrassing fashion.
Hopefully tonight’s game will serve as an eye opener. The Birds again didn’t have their “A” game and took too many bad penalties. They probably could have won, but Hedberg owned them for the second time in two weeks…only this time he didn’t surrender a late goal and did what was needed to secure the victory.
The bad news for the Penguins? Both Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke left with injuries. Cooke left after taking a hard right hand from Evander Kane during a second period fight and didn’t return…supposedly he will be OK, though you never know if there will be lingering issues from something like that. Orpik left after taking a skate blade to his thigh. Each player has a significant impact on the Penguins line-up and would be missed greatly.
Sunday will definitely be an interesting hockey day as the Rangers travel to Philadelphia with a chance to secure a playoff spot. However, if the Flyers find a way to win, they would tie the Canadiens for the 7th seed and would pass them based on tie breakers. The Art Ross and Richard Trophy races will also be determined tomorrow, as the Penguins, Capitals and Lightning will all be in action.
Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin are both tied at 50 goals, while Sidney Crosby has 49 in the Richard race, while Ovechkin sits at 109 to lead the league in overall scoring, with Henrik Sedin trailing by one and Sidney Crosby by five.
Gotta love some races coming down to the wire… I will check in later tonight after we see what Sedin does in his ongoing game…