Bylsma won't rest regulars Saturday vs. Flyers
A Saturday afternoon home showdown with Philadelphia is “not a rest situation” for Penguins regulars, coach Dan Bylsma said Friday. However, Blysma said his lineup is a “game-time decision.”
The contest is not completely meaningless for the Penguins, who could play a role in determining their opening-round opponent for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Locked into the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed, the Penguins will play the first wild-card club in a best-of-seven series that begins either Wednesday or Thursday. The Penguins will have home-ice advantage.
The NHL's return to a divisional format for the playoffs guarantees that the Penguins, if they win Round 1, would play either the Flyers, New York Rangers or Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. The Rangers will play either the Flyers or Blue Jackets in Round 1, with New York owning the home ice.
The Flyers and Blue Jackets were tied at 91 points before games played Friday. The Flyers and Blue Jackets also were even with the Detroit Red Wings, who will finish as either the first or second wild-card club. Philadelphia, Columbus and Detroit all had two games remaining.
The Blue Jackets played at Tampa Bay, and Detroit was home against Carolina on Friday night.
The NHL's first tiebreaker is regulation wins. Philadelphia had one more than Columbus as of Friday, and neither club could be passed in that category by Detroit.
• Winger Chris Kunitz did not finish practice at Southpointe Iceoplex. Bylsma described his departure as an “excused absence” and said it was not injury-related.
• Center Evgeni Malkin and wingers Chris Conner (feet) and forward Joe Vitale (mid-body injury) skated with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before practice. Bylsma has not said if any of the injured players would be ready for Game 1 of the first round.
• Winger Harry Zolnierczyk was recalled from AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
— Rob Rossi
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