Three teams looking to play spoilers for playoff hunting clubs

1/30/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

With the NHL coming up on their Olympic break, the standings are starting to become more and more clear in terms of who is going to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs and which clubs are more than in the hunt for a spot in the top eight or wildcard.

The league has playoff givens such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, and San Jose Sharks. There are also teams that should make the postseason such as the Tampa  Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche while some other clubs are fighting to establish solid footing so that come April, they will be in the dance.

While the above mentioned teams are either entrenched in a spot or more than likely going to get in, there are a few teams that probably do not have a chance to make it this season. These teams, however, are not giving up and instead, will cause problems for teams either looking to establish seeding or fighting for a chance to get in.

Said teams can cause a lot of problems for clubs fighting to get into the postseason. The teams below are ones that clubs fighting for a spot should be well aware of:

Jan 29, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz (19) celebrates his first period goal with teammates against the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY SportsEdmonton Oilers
As of this writing, the Edmonton Oilers are the second worst team in the league.

The team has had inconsistent goaltending for much of the season while also suffering different lapses in their game at crucial times.

With that said, this is a team that has a lot of talent in the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, David Perron, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Just Schultz and several others. Their offense can put the puck in the net and cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses and netminders.

The Oilers may be one of the league's worst teams but they certainly have a roster capable of playing like one of the best.

New York Islanders
While the New York Islanders have been one of the league's better teams over the past few weeks, they will more than likely miss the postseason this year.

As of this writing, the Islanders are 14th in the Eastern Conference with 50 points. The team may just be seven points out of the eighth spot but in order for them to make the playoffs, a lot will have to go right for them over the next few months, something that does not happen often for this hockey club.

This is a team that is dangerous offensively and that will fight the opposition tooth and nail to win a hockey game. With players like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Thomas Vanek, the Islanders are seventh in the league in goals scored with 152 markers in 56 games.

If an opposition lets down defensively against this Islanders' hockey club, they will certainly run the risk of losing two valuable points.

Jan 28, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie (7) skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY SportsCalgary Flames
It's been a tough season for the rebuilding Calgary Flames.

They fired their general manager, they are currently the third worst team in the league and they are once again looking at a season where they will not make the postseason. If you are counting at home, that is now five straight seasons of missing the playoffs.

With that said, however, the team has won three straight games and has done so against some pretty good hockey clubs. The team's three victories have come against the Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks.

This team may be well out of a playoff spot, but they will continue to do what they can to win hockey games so they can go into next season on a positive note. 
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