Which NHL teams are most likely to make the playoffs this season?
NHL players will be in their element when the postseason begins on Tuesday.
But the best teams in the Eastern Conference will also be making an impact, with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders expected to finish in the playoff picture, according to a projection of how each team will fare in the playoffs.
Here’s a look at what you need to know.
The Red Wings are going to make it There’s no denying the Red Wings will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
Detroit has won the Stanley Cups in 2011, 2013 and 2016.
The Wings will be the favorites to win it all this year.
The team is still loaded with talent, but it’s hard to believe they’ll be one of the best.
Detroit’s offense is one of its best assets, as they rank first in the NHL in goals (25), shots (30) and power-play goals (7).
The Wings are also second in goals against average (2.21) and fourth in save percentage (.924).
They’re also third in goals-against average (1.81), second in power-and-play scoring (5.1), fifth in goals per game (3.33) and third in shot differential (0.88).
The Red Wing faithful have a reason to believe the team will make it through the postseason and make the postseason for the first time in 20 years.
But it won’t be easy.
They’ll face a formidable Eastern Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils as the top three teams in scoring.
It’s unlikely Detroit’s goaltending will be as good as it has been, and they’ll have to deal with some of the toughest competition.
Detroit will need some help up front, but there are also plenty of young talent in the organization that could help the Wings reach the playoffs for the third straight season.
The NHL All-Star Game could be a huge factor in deciding who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.
The Detroit Red Wing’s defense is among the best in the league.
Detroit ranks fourth in goals for and third for points, while it’s third in defensive zone goals and fourth for power play goals.
The defense is a key component of the Red Wing attack.
The top-four players on the team in points are all 21 or younger, and all four of them are under 25 years old.
Detroit also has a top-six forward in Gustav Nyquist.
Nyquist, who turned 21 on Jan. 30, is expected to be a big part of Detroit’s future.
The Penguins will be a force They’ve been one of NHL’s elite teams since they won the Cup in 2012.
The Pens are tied for second in the conference with a record of 23-8-5.
They’ve won nine of their last 11 games, and will look to continue that trend against the Red Bulls.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been the best team in the Western Conference, winning five of their past six games.
Pittsburgh is ranked second in scoring with 21 goals per contest, second in shots per game and third with power-on-power goals per team (6.5).
Pittsburgh has the second-best penalty kill in the League with a plus-23.0 rating, and is second in blocked shots per 60 minutes.
Pittsburgh also has the third-best power-save percentage in the entire League at 0.98, second-highest in the West behind Chicago (0) and Detroit (0).
Pittsburgh’s defense has also been a strength, ranking fourth in the NBA in scoring at 19.5 points per game.
The Steel City is fourth in penalty minutes allowed at 3.38 per game, second only to the San Antonio Spurs.
The only team with more penalty minutes than Pittsburgh is the Los Angeles Kings at 4.8 per game in 2017-18.
The Maple Leafs will be dangerous If the Red and Blue do well this season, it’s likely they’ll make it to the playoffs again.
Toronto finished 10th in the East in goals last season.
This year, the Maple Leafs finished third in the Atlantic Division with a 15-7-5 record.
Toronto had the second best power-one goal differential (minus-15.0) in the AHL last season and tied for fifth in power play percentage (.891).
The Maple Leaf forwards, Ryan O’Reilly and Auston Matthews, are both under contract through at least 2021.
Toronto also has one of North America’s best defensive corps in James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Kindl, Dion Phaneuf and Connor Brown.
The Blue Jackets also have a solid defensive corps, led by Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman John Mitchell.
The Jackets have a top defenseman in Cam Atkinson and a top goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, and have also added two new starters in Sergei Vasilevskiy and Michal Neuvirth.
The Columbus Blue Jacket will be led by goaltender Sergei Bobic, who has