The NHL is in the midst of a lockout that has seen players and fans go without games for months and has resulted in a host of injuries, including to star players.
Here are the teams most likely contenders for the Stanley Final.
The Washington Capitals:The Capitals, who have had their share of injuries during the lockout, have had a solid start to the season, but have still been the least likely to make the playoffs, according to a recent Sports Illustrated poll.
If the team loses in the first round, the Caps are expected to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
The New York Rangers:The Rangers are the favorite to make it into the first three rounds, according the poll, which found that 22 percent of fans would vote for the Rangers to win the Stanley Cups.
That would be the fourth time the Rangers have made the playoffs since winning their first two titles in 1994 and 1997.
The Columbus Blue Jackets:The Blue Jackets have won their last four games, with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, but their chances of making the playoffs have been hit or miss.
In that span, they have lost four straight games and six of seven, and are also tied for the league lead in goals per game (1.19).
The Blue Jackets would need to win three of four to make that playoff run.
The Toronto Maple Leafs:The Maple Leafs are coming off of back-to-back road wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, but they are still the most likely team to make a run into the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs have won five of their last six games and are a combined 17-6-0 against teams that have made it into a playoff series, including an 8-1 record against teams from the Western Conference.
The Boston Bruins:The Bruins are still a team to watch after a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
The Bruins are 5-1-1 against teams with at least 10 points in the standings, including a 1-0 record against the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Minnesota Wild:The Wild have a 6-4-1 point streak, but a loss to the Detroit Wings on Thursday would push them back to the seventh spot in the Central Division.
The Wild have scored at least two goals in seven straight games, which would put them at the top of the conference, which includes the Blackhawks.
The Buffalo Sabres:The Sabres have scored two goals or fewer in each of their past three games, but that doesn’t mean they have to finish with a bad record.
Buffalo has scored at or above 10 goals in six of its past eight games, including winning six straight games.
The Arizona Coyotes:The Coyotes are the only team in the Western conference with a winning record after their first five games of the season.
They have won six of their first seven games, going 2-0-0 in those games.
The Coyotes would need at least six wins to make this postseason run.
The team has scored three goals or less in five straight games to earn at least one point in its past five games.