With less than a week left in the regular season, playoff seedings are still up for grabs. The Metropolitan Division race is tight despite the Washington Capitals capturing the number one seed in a 3-1 win on Sunday Night on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently the number two seed in the Metro with a 45-29-6 record with 96 points, and two games remaining. Pittsburgh’s final two games are against the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road on Thursday and at home against the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
The teams trying to catch Pittsburgh are: The Columbus Blue Jackets (44-29-6 record with 94 points and three games remaining), The Philadelphia Flyers (40-25-14 record with 94 points and three games remaining), and the New Jersey Devils (42-28-9 record with 93 points and three games remaining).
Is it possible the Pittsburgh Penguins slip out of the two seed and does it matter? Ever since the NHL switched the playoff format in 2014, the number one and two seeds in the Metropolitan Division have not lost a first-round series. The combined one and two seeds are a combined 8-0.
Whoever is the second wild card from this division, also has history on there side. The Metro wild cards are 2-0 when they play against an Atlantic Division opponent in the first round (2016 New York Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers and 2017 New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens).
It looks like for the third straight a season a team from the Metro Division will play a team from the Atlantic Division in the first-round, but the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning will most likely be the one seed in that division and both of those teams are more of a powerhouse than Florida or Montreal was.
Let’s get back to who will possibly get the two seed in the Metro. Columbus plays against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, Pittsburgh on Thursday, and at Nashville on Saturday.
Philadelphia plays the New York Islanders on the road on Tuesday and at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and the New York Rangers on Saturday.
New Jersey plays the New York Rangers on Tuesday and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at home. They will play the Washington Capitals on the road on Saturday.
The deciding factor for the number two seed will be the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets game. If the Penguins win that game I think they will solidify it with no problem but if they don’t, it will be chaotic.
In reality, I think Pittsburgh will end up with 99 points. They will lose in overtime to Columbus and defeat Ottawa. Philadelphia will win all three games to close out the regular season and that will put them at 100 points.
Columbus will beat Detroit and Pittsburgh, but they won’t beat Nashville and that would put Columbus at 98 points. New Jersey will win their next two games, but they will lose against the Washington Capitals.
The battle of the keystone state will happen this postseason: The Philadelphia Flyers will capture the two seed and the Pittsburgh Penguins will capture the three seed. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be the first wild card and face the Washington Capitals in round one. The New Jersey Devils will be the second wild card and face either the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one.