NHL Bubble Teams' Chances of Reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs

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NHL Bubble Teams' Chances of Reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Elsa/Getty Images

With just four weeks to go in the National Hockey League's 82-game regular season, the playoff picture is coming into focus.

For a good part of the year, many teams were bunched together. It looked like nothing much would be settled until the late stages of the calendar, but some separation has occurred.

Blame Canada for starters. All seven Canadian teams have dropped to the lower reaches of the league standings, virtually guaranteeing that the 2016 Stanley Cup champions will be based in a U.S. city for the 23rd consecutive year.

With those teams out of the way, we're left with what boils down to a two-horse race in the Western Conference, while a couple of Eastern teams have their sights set on three vulnerable teams on their side of the bracket.

Sports Club Stats is an excellent resource for the mathematical probabilities of teams reaching the postseason. The website factors in variables such as head-to-head competition and the likelihood of three-point games but doesn't try to quantify late-season hot streaks or individual player surges, slumps or injuries. It's a good jumping-off point, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

Here's the lay of the land after completed games on March 13. Who do you think looks vulnerable? Will the challengers be able to do enough to knock them out?

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