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Game Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils

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The New Jersey Devils will look to make it seven wins out of nine games as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night at the Rock.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The Matchup: The Pittsburgh Penguins (43-28-6 ; SBN Blog: Pensburgh) at the New Jersey Devils (40-28-8)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

The Penguin Quandary: The Pittsburgh Penguins are 5-3-2 in their last 10, and if you’re looking at it from a point-collecting perspective, they’ve got points in seven out of ten. But when you read into some of those losses is when things start to get interesting. The defending Stanley Cup champions for two years running have not yet secured a playoff spot. A fact which is clearly troubling to coach Mike Sullivan and his staff and players.

Pittsburgh has lost three regulation games out of ten. Those losses have come to less-than-sub-par teams in the form of the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders. The other regulation loss in the previous ten for Pittsburgh came at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team who could be a threat in these coming playoffs. The Pens also lost to the Devils, and Our Hated Rivals in overtime, and were shelled in an 8-4 laugh-er against Boston back on March 1. Pensburgh writer Hooks Orpik wrote a good piece about the general disinterest which seems to be plaguing the Penguins, check it out.

The Tight East: The Eastern Conference playoff race is a tight one. The Washington Capitals, the Metro’s first place team, have not yet secured a playoff spot. They could clinch tonight if the Blue Jackets lose to Calgary in regulation, the Panthers either lose to Ottawa, or they beat them in a shootout, and the Devils lose to Pittsburgh. If the Devils beat Pittsburgh in any fashion, the Carolina Hurricanes will punch their offseason tickets. The Toronto Maple Leafs also would love to see the Devils AND Panthers lose. That would clinch them a playoff spot in the tough Atlantic, which is stacked with scary teams.

Six Remain: New Jersey has six games left on this season, and what a season it’s been. The Devils had a great game against Pittsburgh earlier this month, let’s hope we can see one like that again, and pick up the two points. Who else is sitting on their hands? Because I know I am. Enjoy your Thursday, everyone.