Fuck the fucking Penguins. Okay? Fuck them. Everyone listen up. Yes, the Penguins changed coaches and started playing well. Great. So did we. Their record of 13-2-3 under the new guy sounds impressive. But everyone shut the hell up. Listen. Yes I'm pissed they beat the Flames last night. But fucking look, okay? We are 2 points behind them in the standings with a game-in-hand (that game is tonight, against the lowly Thrashers). If we win, we're exactly tied in the standings. Look, here's the point:
Under Tortorella, we are 8-3-1, outscoring our opponents 38-29. Under Bylsma, the Pens are 13-2-3, outscoring their opponents 64-47. That means we've put up 17 points in 12 games, an average of 1.4 pts/game, while they've put up 29 in 18, an average of 1.6 pts/game. We're winning each game by an average of 3.2-2.4, while they're winning by an average of 3.6-2.6. That's not actually a very big difference. Let me put this another way.
The Pens have played 18 games with their new coach. If we continued at our current pace through 18 hypothetical games with Torts, we would be looking at 26 points in those games, only 3 points fewer than the Pens. What's more, we would have scored only 7 goals fewer than the Pens (57), while giving up 3 fewer (44).
That's not a substantial fucking difference! And we're doing it all without having two of the top 3 scorers in the NHL! In conclusion, the Pens aren't very fucking special. Thanks, math.
Oh, also last night, the Sabres beat the Panthers, and the Hurricanes beat the Senators, both in regulation. Shrinkin' it back down:
4. Philadelphia, 90 pts, 10 GR
5. Carolina, 89 pts, 6 GR
6. Pittsburgh, 88 pts, 7 GR
7. NEW YORK RANGERS, 86 pts, 8 GR
8. Montréal, 83 pts, 9 GR
9. Florida, 81 pts, 8 GR
10. Buffalo, 78 pts, 9 GR
We play the Thrashers tonight at 7, and had better damn win. This should be an easy 2, and as long as we don't approach it as such, it should be. This gets "must-win" status. Wake-Up Call: it's the last "easy" game on our schedule. After this, it's all Eastern Conference, all bubble teams or higher: Pens, Devils, 'Canes, Bruins, Canadiens, and Flyers twice. So yeah. We need the points wherever we can get them. Let's Go Rangers!
Two other games of import tonight. At 7:00, the Cats are in Philly. I'm officially going to say go Panthers, because I'd like to believe that 3 points and a game-in-hand is enough of a cushion on a sliding team that's 1-4-3 in their last 8, while 4 points and a game-in-hand might still be a surmountable distance over which to catch a team against whom we finish the season with a home-and-home. Always looking up, not down. Go Florida. Plus their broadcasts always look like the multimedia department of a high school made them in the late 90s. So, they get points for that.
At 7:30, the Lightning are in Montréal. Sure, the Bolts aren't good, but neither are the Habs lately (in fact, their records are right around the same over the last month), and if the Lightning could steal one for us, that would be neat.
That's all I got! Hockey hockey hockey!