A Sixth Seed Would Be Perfect for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Matt HunterCorrespondent IApril 9, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4.

The Penguins are making their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in hopes to bringing home Lord Stanleys Cup this year.

Before they start thinking about that though, the Penguins still have two regular season games remaining on the schedule. They host the New York Islanders tonight at Mellon Arena, and then finish up the 08-09 season in Montreal.

Currently, the Penguins are seeded in the sixth position with 95 points. This puts them only two points behind both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Carolina Hurricanes.

With a pretty nice two games to finish the season, the Penguins could easily finish with 99 points, and in turn finish in that fourth or fifth seed.

Here lies the problem though to me.

The first round matchup with a four or five seed is going to be harder for the Penguins than it would if they were a six playing the mostly likely third seed New Jersey Devils.

If the Penguins were to get one of those higher seeds they would be playing either the Philadelphia Flyers or the Carolina Hurricanes both of which have been playing good hockey, and Carolina has been quite dominant as of late also going 9-0-1 in their last ten.

However, the New Jersey Devils have been on a little slide as of late, and has not been playing as well as they had currently been earlier in the year. They are currently only 3-6-1 in their last ten games. This could play perfectly into the Penguins hands if they can keep and hold that six spot.

Now I am not saying that they go out and throw games like NBA teams do to get the lottery pick.  I think that is completely unsportsmanlike, and should not happen.

What I am saying though is that if the Penguins win tonight, and the Flyers and Hurricanes also win their next game the Penguins should rest their guys against Montreal.

I'm not implying to just call up all of Wilkes-Barre by any means, but give Malkin, Crosby, Fleury, and Orpik the night off. Bring up some young guys from the baby-Pens, and let them get some NHL experience.

I think the Penguins can play against all three of the teams they may face in the first round (Devils, Flyers, Hurricanes), but the playoffs is all about momentum, and getting a team on a skid going into the playoffs is the perfect momentum starter for a long playoff push.

Hopefully, the Penguins play this one smart in these last two games and get a good first round matchup.