Pittsburgh Penguins: Streaking Pens Can Still Clinch Atlantic Division Title

Joe Heidkamp@@Joe_HeidkampContributor IMarch 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15:  Sidney Crosby #87 (2nd R) of the Pittsburgh Penguins watches the puck go into the goal scored by Matt Cooke #24 (R) against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 15, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

With just 13 games left in the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are finally healthy again. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang couldn't have picked a better game to come back, as the Penguins faced off against the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers on Thursday night. 

With a huge 5-2 win against their division rivals, the Penguins inched to within four points of the Rangers.  It was their 10th straight win, and the Pens don't show any signs of slowing down.

The road to the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles won't be an easy one, though, as the Penguins have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league.

Three of the remaining games will be against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are in fifth place and only two points behind the Penguins. Claude Giroux and company will be looking to take the division lead for themselves and prove the solidarity of their new-look team, and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov just came off of three straight shutouts.

The Penguins also have two games remaining against the New Jersey Devils, who are only four points behind them in the Atlantic Division. 

With all of the four point games coming up for the Penguins, the most important might be the last showdown of the season against the New York Rangers on April 5 in Pittsburgh. This could be the game that decides which team takes the crown in the East.

No matter the odds, the Penguins have a legitimate shot at passing the Rangers and holding off the Flyers and Devils. With a healthy Crosby, the league's leading scorer Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury having an MVP-type season of his own, the sky's the limit for the Penguins.  Next stop, Lord Stanley's Cup.