As the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins get set for Saturday night’s game (8 ET, ABC and ESPN+), they are both in great shape to qualify for the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Rangers have a greater than 99% chance of making the postseason, while the Penguins’ chances are 73%. But what happens when they get there? And could they meet again for another epic showdown like last year’s?
The Rangers are on track for a first-round matchup against their Hudson River rival New Jersey Devils. The Devils won the first tilt between the teams 5-3 on Nov. 28. Each has won a 4-3 overtime decision in the time since, and they’ll play again on March 30.
Money Puck gives the Rangers a 26.1% chance of making the second round of the playoffs (where they’d potentially meet the Penguins again), 15.8% chance of making the conference final, 2.0% chance of making the Stanley Cup Final, and 0.7% chance of winning it all.
As for the Penguins, they appear poised to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. The Pens have lost two games cleanly to the Canes and two other games in OT; however, all of those were during the “we have Andrei Svechnikov in the lineup” era of Canes 2022-23 hockey. A lineup without Svechnikov would theoretically be less powerful.
Despite Svechnikov’s absence, Money Puck doesn’t love the Pens’ chances of winning the series, but it does offer a slightly rosier picture than the Rangers’ if they do get past the Metro Division: It’s a 25.2% chance for a trip to the second round, 10.6% chance of making the conference final, 4.4% chance of making the Stanley Cup Final, and 1.9% chance of winning the Cup.
As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2023 NHL draft lottery.
Note: Playoff chances are via FiveThirtyEight.
Current playoff matchups