The Penguins can fool themselves to whatever extent they please that they earned two points that were absolutely indispensable last night, but the way they've played the Islanders over the past 125 minutes of ice time plus a shootout has left little doubt that they've kissed this season good-bye.
"I expected someone to come; I didn't know who it would be," Ballard said. "He's their captain, and he understands that no matter who it is, you have to do something. He's an intense player, competitive. At that point of the game, that was pretty much the right thing to do."