NHL: Did Every Team Exceed, Meet, or Fall Short of Expectations This Season?

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NHL: Did Every Team Exceed, Meet, or Fall Short of Expectations This Season?
Elsa/Getty Images

As legendary country music star Toby Keith sings, "We got winners; we got losers."  True in the world of professional sports, a winner always emerges and the rest are, for this year at least, losers.

Some NHL teams were expected to make a serious run at a Stanley Cup this season, only to fall well short, while other teams not expected to quietly go away made some serious noise.

Arguably the strangest story this season is that of the Los Angeles Kings.  Many had high expectations for the team prior to the start of the season, only to watch them barely clinch the final seed in the Western Conference.  However, the Kings have dominated this postseason and need only one more win to claim the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup.

Joining the Kings in the final are the New Jersey Devils, the sixth seed out of the East who took down favorites like the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers en route to an Eastern Conference Championship.

While both of these teams are still fighting for hockey's ultimate prize and arguably joining several other teams who finished above expectations, some of the NHL's best went down easily, some of the basement teams stayed in the basement and some teams used the 2011-2012 season to build a bright future.

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