2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: What Teams on the Brink Need for a Playoff Push

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2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: What Teams on the Brink Need for a Playoff Push
Harry How/Getty Images

Now that the All-Star break is over and the NHL's 30 teams are back to work, the playoff race will become even more intense.

There are only 16 spots for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and although a few teams will undoubtedly be in the playoffs (see: Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers, for example), there are no guarantees of who will make it and who will be seeded where.

In the Eastern Conference, the current eighth place team (the Atlanta Thrashers) has just one point on the ninth place team (the Carolina Hurricanes).

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks should be sweating. They are in eighth place with 58 points, but the Minnesota Wild has 57 points, and three teams are behind the Wild with 56 points.

Teams who are on the brink are looking for every possible edge to get into a playoff spot.

In this slideshow, we will look at seven teams (three from the Eastern Conference, four from the Western Conference) who are currently out of a playoff spot. We'll see where they stand in a variety of categories and what they will need to do to sneak into the postseason.

Buckle your seatbelts, hockey fans. It's going to be a wild ride.


Alison Myers is a Featured Columnist for the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can contact her by e-mail at Alison.Myers@mail.com or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/AlisonM_BR.

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