NHL Playoffs 2013: Low Seeds with Best Chance of Lifting Stanley Cup

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13:  Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with his bench after scoring a first period goal against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center on April 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

This year's Los Angeles Kings could very well be the Los Angeles Kings.

More so than any other league, the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs are unpredictable every season. You're guaranteed at least one huge upset, and occasionally a No. 8 seed like Los Angeles winning the whole thing.

Luckily for the Kings, they won't have to fight all the way from an eighth seed, but few will look at the Kings as favorites considering the strength of the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Defensively, Los Angeles is very strong once again, and no team wants to go into the Staples Center with the way the team is playing at home.

Along with the Kings, here are three potential lower seeds with a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.


New York Islanders

A week ago, the New York Islanders were rolling. They had won 11 of their last 14 games. Then the Islanders turned around and lost their last three games in a row.

Suffice it to say, that's not the kind of momentum you want to carry into the postseason. Plus, as a result of that poor run, New York is looking at the eighth seed and a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.

The deck is stacked against them, but the Islanders can make a run in the playoffs.

They're seventh in the league in scoring at 2.85 goals a game. Much of that is down to John Tavares and his 28 goals and 19 assists.


Detroit Red Wings

By getting a point against the Dallas Stars, the Detroit Red Wings can clinch themselves a playoff spot. Should that happen, it will be the 22nd season in a row the team advanced to the postseason. That's an incredible streak and a testament to the organization as a whole.

This year, getting the seventh seed will be key. You don't want to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.

The Red Wings relied on a lot of younger players this season as they're looking to the future more so than the present. That inexperience could prove costly. Detroit still has talented veterans like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsuk and Johan Franzen who can lead the way in a playoff series.


New York Rangers

The New York Rangers were pegged as a Stanley Cup favorite before the season started. Things haven't gone very well, but the Rangers still find themselves in the playoffs. Despite what its seed will eventually be, there isn't a team that will want to face New York.

There's a lot of reasons to like the Rangers. A lot of it comes down to coach John Tortorella. This New York team plays tough, gritty hockey. Much of that revolves around a blue line that includes John Moore, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh. There's even that slight chance Marc Staal returns to the ice at some point in the playoffs.

If the Rangers are going to advance very deep, though, Henrik Lundqvist will probably play the biggest role. He's been one of the Rangers' most consistent players all season long. His goals-against average of 2.10 is sixth in the league.