NHL Playoffs 2012: The Most Reasonable Goals for Each Postseason Contender

March 9th, 2012 by Al Daniel Leave a reply »
No team ought to enter the Stanley Cup playoffs expressly striving to be one of the 15 who fall short. But shy of a captain’s handshake and photo op with commissioner Gary Bettman, what would at least be an attainable and satisfactory result for playoff-bound teams or those who still have a chance to make the bracket?

In the Eastern Conference, the Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders have too many rivals to leapfrog. And similar to Montreal, the Tampa Bay Lightning have too many key figures on injured reserve to sustain, let alone complete, a late rally through the homestretch.

In the West, the same basic scenario holds true for Anaheim, Minnesota, Edmonton and Columbus.

But for the other 21 teams, it is still worth entertaining a prospective playoff run. Each will now be assessed based on what they and their rooters can and should expect of them, assuming they are not to be the 2012 champions.

Let’s start with the Eastern Conference.

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