(Note: this is under the fairly safe assumption that the Washington Capitals will win the division.)
If things don’t change drastically during the rest of the week – and they could – then the Pittsburgh Penguins earned home-ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the best way you could ask for.
They did so in a direct manner: by beating the Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday.
There was an if there, mind you. This win increases Pittsburgh’s edge for the Metro Division’s second spot to three points. Let’s take a quick look at the road ahead for each team.
Penguins: 109 points, three games remaining, 45 ROW
Thursday: at Devils
Saturday: at Maple Leafs
Sunday: at Rangers
Blue Jackets: 106 points, three games remaining, 47 ROW
Thursday: vs. Jets
Saturday: at Flyers
Sunday: at Maple Leafs
So, yes, the Blue Jackets could still pass the Penguins and take the second spot (and thus a round of home-ice) in the Metro. Still, this was a significant swing in Pittsburgh’s favor, especially since the win came in regulation.
In a dream scenario for the Penguins, the injury-ravaged team might even make like the Rangers on Sunday and rest some tired players.
Right now, this is merely a nice win for the Pens, with some confidence-boosting moments.
The Blue Jackets? Well, they might have some soul-searching to do after dropping four straight games, with tonight’s being arguably the biggest.