NHL Playoff Picture: Penguins narrowly avoid Capitals in Round 1

With a late assist on Jake Guentzel’s equalizer Saturday versus the New York Rangers, Sidney Crosby did more than clear 100 points for the season and help an unlikely 40-goal man hit the scoring benchmark.

He prevented the Pittsburgh Penguins from having to run it back with the Washington Capitals in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pittsburgh’s point in an eventual overtime loss on home ice thwarted a final-night shake-up to the Metropolitan Division’s final standings, and preserved a first-round matchup with the New York Islanders.

The Islanders will have home-ice advantage versus the Penguins by virtue of their win on Saturday night, while the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets each won, keeping them firm in the first and second wild card spots, respectively.

Here’s the complete Eastern Conference playoff picture:

Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC2)

Boston Bruins (2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (3)

Washington Capitals (1) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (WC1)

New York Islanders (2) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (3)

We’ll update this post when the Western Conference matchups are set later on.

Washington's path back to the Stanley Cup Final begins with Carolina. (Getty)Washington's path back to the Stanley Cup Final begins with Carolina. (Getty)
Washington’s path back to the Stanley Cup Final begins with Carolina. (Getty)

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