The final 20. How teams play over the last quarter of the season is usually a solid indicator of how they will play during the playoffs. The Penguins have not played their best hockey thus far this season and they are well aware of it. Going into the playoffs with a head of steam and home ice advantage (at least in the first round) will be very important to their chances.
As I see it, three teams are good enough to win the Eastern Conference – Pittsburgh, Washington, and New Jersey. The team that does not have to go against both of the others will have the best chance for advancement – again, making these last 20 games very important as the playoff seeding is determined. Let’s take a closer look at the remainder of the schedule — 10 home and 10 away. They are even in this regard, but the stretches are peculiar. Three out of four are at home, seven of eight on the road, six straight at home, and the final two are on the road. There are two games left with New Jersey and Washington. 10 games are against teams that are below them and battling for their playoff lives, and five games are against teams that are out of the running.
In order to establish themselves as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, the Pens need to earn at least 28 of the 40 points available to them. That’s a 70% winning percentage. Over the last two Marches, they have won at an 80% clip. Both of those strong finishes led them into their long playoff runs.
Here’s saying that they will accomplish this and generate some excitement in the Burgh as we head into my favorite time of the year. That’s the view from E-11.
Note — Steigy — Just call the game. We are not interested in your inane stories as much as Errey seems to be. How many goals have been scored this year while you are rambling on about nothing????
Note — I wrote this before the Buffalo game last night and just got a chance to post it. That was a good start to the final 20!
Note — LOVED the trades.