Mar 9, 2012, 10:12 PM EST
Pittsburgh Penguins fans are salivating over the concept of Sidney Crosby coming back, but don’t be surprised if there’s at least an undercurrent of hesitation about ruining what they have going right now.
The Pens won their eight consecutive game after edging the Florida Panthers 2-1 in a shootout tonight.
While many are wondering what kind of damage the current build of the team + Crosby could produce in the playoffs, the more immediate future is getting more interesting. With this win, Pittsburgh is just four points behind the New York Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead after the Rangers lost 4-3 in regulation to the Chicago Blackhawks.
That loss provides a rather interesting proposition. The Penguins have two more games left against the Rangers this season, so if they beat them in regulation both times, the teams who essentially be tied.
Sure, the Rangers would hold tiebreaker advantages in wins (42 to 41) and especially regulation/OT victories (39 to 32), but their seemingly ironclad lead could dissolve if the two teams continue moving in opposite directions.
With the changing scenario in mind, Pittsburgh has a very real chance to go from “dangerous team with perhaps just one round of home ice advantage” to possibly the first seed in the East. With or without Crosby, the Penguins’ outlook is rapidly getting more ambitious – to the point that some might be nervous about them losing a step while their captain makes his way back.
- Roberto Luongo records the shutout in first game back with Panthers 20
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack 57
- Canucks’ Kassian gets three games for boarding Dillon 27
- TGIF: Why Lightning fans can be upset with St. Louis 32
- Goalie nods: Luongo’s first game back with Panthers, Neuvirth makes Sabres debut 14
- Report: Kuznetsov terminated KHL deal, headed to Washington 21
- Canucks’ Bieksa: ‘If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is’ 34
- Luongo has Twitter fun at Canucks’ expense 36
- Sabres spoil Callahan’s Lightning debut, Stamkos’ return 7
- Dealing with the Devils: NHL reverses Kovalchuk punishment 49
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Sabres announce Pat LaFontaine resigns as president of hockey operations (66)