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2012 NHL Playoffs: Penguins, Flyers In A Race For First Round Home Ice

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers seem destined to play a potential nine times in three weeks, a scenario that could produce one of the most bitter chapters in the long history of these clubs' ugly rivalry. After Philly's 6-4 win Sunday, they climbed within striking distance of taking home ice away from the Pens in the potential 4/5 seed match-up in the Eastern Conference:

Eastern Standings

New York Rangers 79 50-22-7 107
Boston Bruins 79 47-28-4 98
Florida Panthers 79 37-25-17 91
Pittsburgh Penguins 79 48-25-6 102
Philadelphia Flyers 79 46-24-9 101
New Jersey Devils 79 45-28-6 96
Ottawa Senators 79 41-28-10 92
Washington Capitals 80 40-32-8 88
Buffalo Sabres 79 38-31-10 86
Tampa Bay Lightning 79 37-35-7 81
Winnipeg Jets 79 36-34-9 81
Carolina Hurricanes 79 31-32-16 78
Toronto Maple Leafs 79 34-36-9 77
New York Islanders 79 33-35-11 77
Montreal Canadiens 79 29-35-15 73

At 96 points, the New Jersey Devils are unlikely to catch either team relegating the final week of the regular season to a Pennsylvania battle for home ice. Despite a one point lead, the Pens have a slightly tougher two-game stretch (at No. 2 Boston, vs. the top-seeded Rangers) than Philadelphia (two home games vs. the Rangers and Sabres) before the clubs meet at CONSOL Energy Center Saturday, with home ice potentially still on the line.

For more on the Pittsburgh Penguins, check out PensBurgh and SB Nation's NHL page.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.