5 Most Improved NHL Teams During the 2011-2012 Season

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5 Most Improved NHL Teams During the 2011-2012 Season
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Every NHL season is a tale of two halves.

That halfway point doesn't always fall after Game 41, after the turn of the new year, or after the All-Star break. There's no way to predict when it will occur.

But after any game, any goal or any other point in time, there's always a chance that something big is about to begin—and that's what makes the game of hockey so magical.

The New Jersey Devils' miraculous run of a year ago, with 17 wins in 19 games launching them back into playoff contention, was a time that few avid followers will ever forget.

The Carolina Hurricanes' nine-game undefeated streak of March and April 2009, that eventually propelled them to a shocking Eastern Conference Finals bid, gave the nickname "Cardiac 'Canes" another meaning.

The incredible postseason explosion of Jaroslav Halak and his Montreal Canadiens in 2010 taught the hockey world that any player, no matter what caliber, can become a hero.

For the 2011-2012 NHL campaign, that season-defining streak has yet to be determined. However, the marvelous improvement that this handful of teams have shown might just be enough to engrave their names forever in the memories of many.

Which five squads are the most improved, so far, since the 2011-12 season began? Which five squads have already hit that halfway point? Which five squads know that this spring, it will be their club that shines in the spotlight of the hockey world?

Keep reading to find out.

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