A mere three weeks separate today from the conclusion of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season, and the race for the playoffs is as fierce as ever.
While the Washington Capitals, usually a top seed throughout the year, struggle to cling to the No. 8 seed, a number of hot and hungry dark horses are fighting furiously to claim that position for themselves.
As March winds down and April looms large in the calendar, victories have become plentiful for many bubble teams. Moving up the standings, however, is now a much harder task.
The Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes—as well as the desperate aforementioned Capitals—have long since begun their respective postseason surges.
But which lone club will be able to maintain it long enough to grab that precious final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference?
We present our daring predictions for the NHL's final judgement in the coming slides.