I didn't actually think the stars would align themselves but not only did the Pens move past Carolina in the standings but they moved into 4th place past the Flyers this weekend. If either the Hurricanes or the Flyers registered a point in their final regular season game either would have finished ahead of Pittsburgh but while the Pens were beating Montreal and the Islanders, Carolina was losing both their games to Buffalo and New Jersey.
That moved Pittsburgh into 5th place but the good luck didn't end there, the two final wins tied Pittsburgh with Philly in points (both had 99) but Pittsburgh won the tiebreaker after the Flyers blew a third period lead to the Rangers yesterday.
Sean Avery and Blair Betts scored third-period goals to rally the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Sunday, spoiling Philadelphia's shot at home-ice advantage against Pittsburgh in its opening playoff series.
The Flyers (99 points) needed only a point in the finale to secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home ice in the best-of-seven series with Pittsburgh. Instead, the rematch from last season's conference finals will start in Pittsburgh.
So now we get the turnpike series renewed and it should be interesting. The fact that Pittsburgh is even in the playoffs is amazing considering they were looking from the outside in just a short time ago.
The Penguins climbed an astounding six spots in the conference standings by going 18-3-4 over the final 25 games of the season. They were 10th and out of the playoff picture when interim coach Dan Bylsma took over Feb. 15.
Let the hate build; Wednesday it all starts again.