If the NHL ever considered starting its own play-in tournament, and they haveand last night’s lakers-timberwolves what-is-yeah If that wasn’t enough to dissuade them, the Islanders and Penguins have recently shown the league that if they were forced to sidestep each other to make the playoffs, it would be like the NBA would take the game too far back. Will have gone through tomorrow.
What could make the NHL more exciting?
The East’s last wildcard spot is the only playoff spot left open — the Jets swept the West finals last night — and Pittsburgh and the Isles have spent the week handing each other back mosylvania (timely reference!). The eventual “winner” of this spot, or eventual holder to be more precise as this thing has become a game of stale musical chairs, then enjoys the Boston Bruins using their spine as a xylophone for four to five games. does.
Isles last week appeared ready to accept his assignment. They rolled over the Lightning and then the Flyers (one act far more impressive than the other), which gave them control of their own destiny, and even opened the way for the first wildcard spot, leaving them entirely to the Bruins. Could have ducked. , They had a fairly easy-looking layoff on Monday, an away date with the long-plucked Washington Capitals. Very easy.
Darcy Kuemper (who yes Virginia, still alive even if you forgot) Made 38 saves and Ilya Sorokin had a rare off-night as he finished his lunch break in the 5–2 defeat. The Panthers already in the clubhouse beat the Leafs in overtime that same night, which meant that suddenly the Pittsburgh Penguins were driving the bus.
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And then that goddamn bus crashed into a mountain, not to mix metaphors
Penn couldn’t have had an easier run-in, two games against the Hawks and Jackets, two teams that would lose to get their noses in the Suck Hard for Bedard derby. It could be as whiffle-ball a week in the NHL.
Or so one might have thought:
Not only were the Penguins beaten by a team with “Buddy” and “Joey” on the roster, they weren’t even close. The sleepy Penn took most of the first two rounds, and then Petr Marjek found too much of a wall, even though he tied the game in the third. Here’s some “rescue”.
Even the Carthaginians knew that if you give Andreas Athanasiou five minutes, he’ll eventually figure out where the target is. (There’s going to be a hilarious study next week that cost the Hawks their entire future with this win and recent play when they draft a fifth, except everyone is too busy to read this.) will laugh hard).
This loss not only puts everything on the Islanders at home to the Habs tonight, in another game that should just fill its name on the SAT considering Montreal has nothing to play for. Should the Islanders score even a point, that’s it. The Panthers won without playing, thanks to the Penguins shooting fire in their faces, and not playing is probably what these three do best.
There is clearly more at stake here for the Penguins, who not only lost a playoff spot to the remedial class Hawks, but saw an entire era finally come crashing through the ground. Missing the playoffs would officially close the book on the Crosby-Malkin-Letang era, though all are signed for a few more years. They barely have any cap space next year to try and improve things, and it will be very difficult to get carcasses like Jeff Carter or Mikael Granlund off the roster to open up more. If Ron Hextall’s real task was to bring down the Penguins from within to serve up his Flyers masters, then you’d have to say he did a bang-up job.
Penn gives Paul Morris-coached team a playoff spot, a sure sign it’s time for Shawn Michaels To superkick them to hell for good.
For the Islanders, he has the type of goalie and the type of boring-ass style that can throw a brief scare into the Bruins. But this is still a team where Zach Parise and his tennis ball on skates are the third-leading scorer, Matthew Barzel is probably still injured, and GM Lou Lamiorello can’t figure out that Bo Horvat won’t continue to score at 21 percent of his career. Shots like they did in Vancouver. It’s a long shot, to say the least.
And both the Penguins and Islanders played like they know it this week. Why mess with four extra games of mud slinging when you can just go home?
To find out more about Sam’s descent into hockey-obsessed madness, follow him on Twitter @felsgate,