Good evening everyone. I wish I had something deep and inspiring to say tonight, but, well, there isn't a lot. Buffalo's eliminated. The Pens have wrapped up the East and don't have much of a shot at the President's Trophy when you look at who Chicago has left. (Now, if the Pens win tonight and Chicago derps their next game? Different story.) At this point the Pens have two goals: 1) try not to have anyone else get hurt, and 2) serve notice to the East that they will not go out meekly as they did the last 3 playoffs. The Pens had nothing to play for last night and still controlled much of the play against a team that absolutely needed the game. If the Pens are letting up on the throttle they've got a funny way of doing that.
As mentioned previously, tonight's opponent is one who at this point is playing for draft positioning. They canned their coach earlier this year, and they seem to be stuck where they aren't all that great but also aren't terrible enough to be one of the worst teams and get a top draft pick. It wouldn't surprise me if they blew up the team and started over. There is a small matter of revenge, however- the Sabres ended the Pens long winning streak, and right now the Pens are only .500 against Buffalo. If the Pens won out, they'd be no worse than .500 against every team in the East. If they lose out, they'd be under .500 against 3 teams who they won't see in the playoffs. It's an odd year.
Standings? Standings. http://espn.go.com/nhl/standings/_/group/2
I'd love a matchup with Ottawa. They'd spend all their energy trying to kill Cooke. I wouldn't mind the Isles even though on paper they could cause problems- they have the look of a team that will be happy to be in the playoffs. The Rangers could pose a problem with Henrik in net, but the Pens have handled them. Winnipeg would be roadkill. This is all assuming the Pens have most of their firepower back for the postseason.
Anyway, should the Pens lose what is a meaningless game, there will still be screaming about how the team peaked too early. The "Fire DB' thread will resurface, and we may even get large pictures with arrows showing how the team is fundamentally broken. A win would be ignored. I'd like to see them win.