NHL Postseason Predictions: Best- and Worst-Case Scenario for Every Playoff Team

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NHL Postseason Predictions: Best- and Worst-Case Scenario for Every Playoff Team
Harry How/Getty Images

The margin between the unfettered joy of winning the Stanley Cup and the pain of losing in the first round can be razor-thin.

Go back to the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. In the first round, the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens squared off in classic series between the two rivals.

After the Bruins lost the first two games at home, it seemed the Canadiens would cruise to an easy victory. However, the Bruins responded with two road wins of their own.

The series went the distance, and it was tied in the third period of the seventh game before Chris Kelly gave the Bruins a late lead in front of their adoring home fans. Just as the Bruins were about to celebrate, P.K. Subban blasted home a power-play goal to send the game into overtime.

The series could have gone either way, but when Nathan Horton pumped home the game-winner, the Bruins jumped with joy and advanced.

They ended up winning the Stanley Cup. They could have been sent home in the first round. The difference between the Bruins and the Canadiens was slight, and it could have been the Habs raising the cup if they had gotten a late break in the first round.

With that scenario as the backdrop, here's the best-case and worst-case scenario for each team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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