If the NHL returns this summer, we will see it take place in the form of a 24-team postseason.
What's this mean for the Penguins? A five-game series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bring em' on.
Some have suggested that the Penguins should be pissed about the new playoff format. They've had a wonderful season, all things considered, and they're rewarded with an extra playoff series?! That doesn't seem right, does it?
It's not perfect, but if the NHL is to return it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. In order to make the numbers work, markets like Montreal, New York, and Chicago needed to be included. Is it fair? Not especially. It's necessary.
The Pens have to take part in a play-in round. So what? They're not getting screwed. The Canadiens stink. They're 31-31-9.
Spare me the "OH MY GOD, they've got to face Carey Price!" nonsense. This isn't the 2014-2015 Carey Price we're talking about. He won the Hart Trophy and the Vezina that season. This year's version of Price has been significantly outplayed by Tristan Jarry. He's not scary.
Montreal is below average on the penalty kill and on the power play. They're fast and they've got some depth scoring, but the Penguins blow them away with star power.
The Pens aren't getting screwed. They have themselves a warmup round before the real playoff teams come knocking. The Habs may win a game, but the Penguins are going to beat the Canadiens.
That's right. We don't even know when the series will start, but I'm calling it on May 26th. The Penguins will win the series.