Wyshynski: Biggest headaches for NHL playoff contenders
- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
At the start of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, 29 out of 30 people on ESPN’s expert panel believed the Colorado Avalanche would get through the first round against the Nashville Predators. Whatever concerns they had about the Avs, they wouldn’t hinder Nathan MacKinnon and the boys from advancing.
But those concerns manifested for later rounds. Only seven people picked the eventual Stanley Cup champions to win the big prize on the eve of the 2022 playoffs.
Maybe it was the goaltending. Maybe it was their inability to get over the hump in previous postseasons. Maybe the fancy stats weren’t fancy enough.
There are always flaws, headaches, concerns and consternation as the postseason nears. Some teams can overcome them. Other teams succumb to them.
Here’s a look at some of the trepidations facing current playoff contenders. We’ve opted to leave off teams that are floating around the playoff bubble, focusing on teams with a playoff probability of greater than 90% as of Wednesday. The biggest playoff concern for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames? That would be actually making the playoffs.
Let’s start with our resident juggernaut:
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