As the month of March begins, most of the playoff races are wide open, which is giving these three disappointing NHL teams a second chance.
The end of the 2019-20 NHL season is quickly approaching. The race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins now. And thanks to all the parity in the league, there are numerous close races. Teams have failed to pull away, which means there are some disappointing teams who could still make the postseason.
Considering the difference between a head coach or general manager keeping their job and being fired could come down to making the playoffs, that’s pretty significant. These teams might not deserve to make the postseason, but they still have a decent shot at doing so.
So which three “disappointing” teams could make the postseason despite underachieving so far? Let’s take a look.
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The Nashville Predators started this season off strong, as they finished the month of October with an 8-3-2 record. However, from the start of November to the end of January, the Predators went 8-13-3. Luckily for them, the Western Conference wild-card race has been relatively weak. That has allowed them to get back into the postseason picture.
While the Predators are still fighting to hang onto a playoff spot, there are some reasons for optimism for them. Their goaltending was poor when they struggled, but they have the sixth-best 5v5 save percentage in the NHL since Jan. 6, when they fired then-head coach Peter Laviolette and replaced him with John Hynes.
The Predators enter March hanging onto the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Though there are three teams within one point of grabbing it from them, the Preds have at least one game in hand over each of those teams.
Firing a head coach can be risky. But it appears it worked for the Predators, who are finally starting to resemble the team fans thought they would be before the season began.