How five struggling NHL contenders can get back in the playoff mix


Expectations are a funny thing.

The lead-up to a new NHL season is filled with projections and prognostications — both internal and external — around what should be attainable for every team.

Certain clubs reach that potential with ease. Some even soar past them.

And of course, there’s that other handful of teams, too — the estimated contenders who fell alarmingly fast into “can we still salvage this?” territory.

That latter group is also obviously the most interesting to dissect. And it’s the perfect time to do so as we’re nearing the vaunted U.S. Thanksgiving mark, which by general rule signals teams currently in playoff position will remain there by spring.

The Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights and New York Rangers? Consider them near-certain postseason locks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings? A trio of safe bets.

The real drama exists for the stunning sliders who haven’t answered the bell. We picked five of the biggest underachievers — including a popular preseason Stanley Cup pick — to go under the microscope; we identify the biggest problems and devise solutions to get them back on track before it’s too late.

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Las Vegas News Magazine

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