Predicting the NHL's Tightest Playoff Races

Ryan O'Leary@BR0LearyFeatured Columnist IApril 10, 2013

April Madness anyone?

NHL fans know what I'm driving at: teams have less than 10 games remaining, and all but five teams are within reasonable striking distance of a playoff spot.

Both the Western and Eastern Conference have a cluster of teams hovering right above or right below the No. 8 seed, and surprisingly the Detroit Red Wings are included in that discussion.

The boys from the Motor City have made 21 consecutive playoff appearances and will do all they can (including overcoming significant injury issues) to improve their precarious playoff seeding at the moment in their quest for 22.

The Eastern Conference is exhibiting its fair share of surprises as well, especially in the form of the precocious New York Islanders. An afterthought when the season began, the young Islanders are riding superstar John Tavares and his running-mate Matt Moulson in hopes of making the the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07.

No doubt, the Islanders story is worth watching during these final two weeks.

Those are just a couple of the races that will shape the 2013 NHL playoffs. Obviously, there are more, so watch the latest video from B/R to find out which ones fans must follow.

Let us know your playoff predictions in the comments below!