Penguins Clinch Playoff Spot

What was somewhat in doubt 2 months ago and lead to the firing of Michel Therrien has come to the pass and the Penguins will get a chance to defend their Eastern Conference title from last season after beating Tampa 6-4 tonight.  Indeed, by clinching over both Florida and the New York Rangers the Pens have clinched being no worse than 7th.  Though they technically can finish as high as 4th, its unlikely they will catch the Flyers or the Hurricanes, so they are realistically battling the Canadiens to see who is 6th and who is 7th.  If that is correct, they are looking at 1st round matchup with either Washington or New Jersey.  Based on recent play you would want the Devils, as they have been in a terrible funk the last couple weeks.  But they have Martin Brodeur and so often Stanley Cup Playoff hockey comes down to the goaltending.  A series with Washington would figure to be full of offense and not lack in subplots in light of the simmering feud between the Caps Ovechkin and Malkin and Crosby of the Pens.  I’m sure the NHL would prefer that matchup to fill the Versus and NBC schedule with.  Personally, I’m not going to worry about the matchups.  The Pens are in and now we’ll see what happens.

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