Penguins shift focus to Islanders –

Penguins shift focus to Islanders –

It’s official. The Penguins will play the Islanders in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, and will begin the series on Long Island.

The Penguins’ secured the No. 3 seed on Saturday with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers, a game that nearly saw the Penguins drop to the first wild card spot.

The stakes were high entering Saturday’s game. A regulation or overtime win over the Rangers, along with a regulation Islanders loss to the Capitals would have secured home-ice advantage over the Islanders in the first round. Had the Penguins lost in regulation and the Hurricanes won in any fashion, the Hurricanes would have leapfrogged the Penguins and the Penguins would have opened the playoffs in Washington.

Jake Guentzel‘s late-game heroics sent the game to overtime, securing the No. 3 seed for the Penguins.

In the final minutes of regulation, all the Penguins needed was one goal. The Islanders were close to winning their game against the Capitals and locking up the No. 2 seed, and the Hurricanes had a one-goal lead over the Flyers. The Rangers had taken a 3-2 lead after goals 1:16 apart, with the latter coming on a Penguins power play. With 2:35 remaining in regulation, Jake Guentzel stepped up and scored his 40th goal of the season:

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