The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the NHL Playoffs


If you follow hockey blogs, you know that James Mirtle's FROM THE RINK is one the few standards out there. Every year, as the playoffs approach, Mirtle gives us his chart of what teams will need to finish with to get into the playoffs.
Here is Dr. Mirtle's explanation of the chart:
It's all based on the premise that, if you get 90 to 95 points in the standings, you'll make the playoffs. There's a chance you can sneak in with less, especially in the Eastern Conference, but under the NHL's kooky everybody-gets-a-point system, this is what teams generally need to get in.
As he states, it is not a predictor; just a mere alternative theory. Based on Dr. Mirtle's diagnosis, the Penguins need to finish at least 16-8 to get to 92 points. Time to arbitrarily break down the rest of the Pens' schedule.
Here are the standings, as of noon on Tuesday:
Here are the standings from the last two years:

As you can see, if you don't get to 90 points, you aren't even in the conversation.
As it stands, the Pens need 32 points to reach 92 points.
We're gonna go week by week and figure this out.
*Home team is on the right.
Feb 16th – Feb 22th
Brutal week. Pens have to split. No questions asked.
Pens go 2-1-1.
+5 points.
Points now needed: 27
Feb 25th – March 1st
The road has been extremely unkind to the Pens.
Beat the Islanders at home. Split one of the road games.
Pens go 2-1
+ 4 points.
Points now needed: 23
Already, this is looking rough.
March 3rd – March 8th
This doesn't help anyone.
Might beat the Lightning. Maybe an OT loss against the last two?
Pens go 1-1-1
+3 points
Points now needed: 20
March 10th – March 15th
Talk about a big week.
The week also marks the start of a 8-game homestand.
Florida is unreal right now, but what will they look like after the trade deadline?
Columbus can be beat. Ottawa sucks. Boston owns the Pens at home.
Pens go 3-1.
+6 points.
Points needed: 14
If you feel we're really stretching, it's 'cause we have to.
March 17 – March 22
This is where the Pens can take back their season.
One of the weeks that should be circled.
Pens go 2-0-1.
+5 points
Points needed: 9
March 25 – March 28
Split it.
Pens go 1-0-1
+3 points
Points needed: 6
April 1st – April 5th
If the Pens are still in the hunt, this is the biggest week since Shark Week.
Pens go 1-1-1.
+3 points
Points needed: 3
April 7th- April 11th

Ah, some saving grace. Let's hope the Pens can take advantage of playing the Lightning and Islanders at the end of the season. That game in Montreal could be the decider.
Pens go 1-1-1.
+3 points
Points earned: 32
That leaves the Pens at 92 points. Only once since the lockout has someone with 92 points not made the playoffs. Don't get all pissy if you think the Pens are gonna win games that we didn't think they would. Nobody cares.
The last two weeks, the Pens have been on a "win two, lose one" pace.
If they can keep that up, they can at least hang around.
But they are also a losing streak away from golfing.
If you've given up, you're whole life is a joke.
Do it.
Go Pens.