PITTSBURGH, PA - The Penguins are heading to the playoffs.
Not that it was ever in doubt as Pittsburgh makes a charge for the top seed in the Eastern Conference standings, but the team made it official by clinching a spot with a 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators at CONSOL Energy Center Thursday night.
The Penguins pulled to within one point of the NY Rangers for the East's top spot, with both teams having played 73 games. The two teams will meet for the final time this season at CONSOL Energy Center April 5.
"I thought we played really well, came out hard," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "I don't think 5-1 is an indication of where the Nashville Predators played tonight. They had a lot of good things happen, making a lot of plays happen and they were tough to handle defensively. We felt that the whole game long."
Pittsburgh's 98 points are also only two behind St. Louis for the most in the NHL, putting it in a position to possibly win the league's President's Trophy.
"When you make your goals at the beginning of the year, that's not one of them for our team," Bylsma said. "Division is one, getting in the playoffs, putting yourself in a position to win the Stanley Cup and with the Stanley Cup. Our goal's not being first in the league and points total. We're going to keep trying to get first in our division. We're one point behind right now and we play the Rangers again and that probably means we are going to be first in our division and first in our conference so that's something we are shooting for."