The NHL playoff race is tightening up heading toward the final third of the season, especially for teams jockeying for wild-card berths. Six teams in the Eastern Conference are currently in contention while four are battling for the final two spots in the Western Conference. A handful are clinging to their wild-card berths, hoping to fend off the challengers below them in the standings.
For teams on the playoff bubble, several factors come into play which could make or break their seasons. Some teams are hampered by injuries to key players. Some are struggling to score. Others have defensive or special team concerns. Failing to address these issues could mean the difference between a playoff contender and a pretender.
Here's a look at 10 current NHL playoff bubble teams, the reasons they're in this position, what they must do to bolster their playoff hopes and their chances of clinching a berth.
All stats unless otherwise indicated are courtesy of NHL.com.