Why each on the bubble team will make the NHL playoffs and why they won’t

The NHL playoffs will be here before we know it, and as always, there are a slew of on the bubble teams looking to sneak into a wild card spot.
Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings
Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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It won’t be long until the NHL playoffs officially begin, but for a strong contingent of teams, the playoffs unofficially commence in March since they are quite a few points back from their respective conferences’ wild card spots. However, with a month to go in the season, teams that wouldn’t earn a playoff berth if the season ended today still have enough time to do everything in their power to put themselves in position to play more than 82 games. 

Sure, those ahead of them need to lose more than they’re winning at the moment, but we have seen plenty of races come down to the last few games of the season in the past. And since there are still a good bit of teams that find themselves six or fewer points out of the second wild card spot, anything can happen between now and mid-April. 

Plenty of on the bubble teams can still reach the NHL playoffs

Seven teams not currently in the second wild card slot can realistically earn a trip to the postseason, and two are looking to end some long playoff droughts, one of which is the longest in league history. Two teams on the outside looking in appeared to be finished earlier in the calendar year, but they have since become some of the NHL’s hottest groups.

Another two have done the opposite, looking as though they were on their way to unprecedented playoff appearances before they hit turbulence in mid-February and have yet to get back on track. Another team on this list has been arguably the most inconsistent contender this year, but they have won just enough to sit just a few points out of a playoff spot. 

So, let’s reveal who these teams are and discuss why they will, and won’t, play hockey when the playoffs commence about five weeks from now.