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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New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are another team that isn’t completely out of the playoff race, sitting just four points behind the New York Islanders for the second spot in the wild card. While this team has been in shambles for most of a season that included relieving their head coach, the Devils are a prime example that shows why you keep playing hard until there is an ‘e’ beside your name. 

Of course, Detroit’s collapse is one reason the Devils - and a few other teams on this list - are still well within reach of that second wild card. However, timing and circumstance are a pair of factors for unprecedented success, and with the Red Wings ailing during the playoff race and the fact the Devils are winning just enough to stay within reach, it’s why a postseason trip isn’t totally out of the question. 

One reason they can make their season last beyond 82 games is their ability to score. With 218 goals in 66 games, the Devils are still among the most high-octane teams in the Eastern Conference. While their goaltending is nowhere near stellar, Kaapo Kahkonen and Jake Allen are a much better combo than what we have seen lately in Newark. 

But Kahkonen and Allen are both 1B-caliber goaltenders and nothing more. So if one or the other gets most of the reps, or if the Devils roll with a three-goaltender rotation, it will be tough to see them making it to the postseason. In short, this team needs to score an average of at least four goals per game to stay relevant and predominantly roll with the Kahkonen/Allen combo.