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Three dark horse teams to watch for in the 2021-22 NHL playoffs



With the NHL Playoffs fast approaching, here are three dark horse teams from the Western Conference that could do some damage in the postseason.





3. Minnesota Wild (43-21-5, 10th in NHL)


The Wild are stacked on offensive weapons to give goaltenders nightmares. They're just heating up in time for the playoffs with an 8-1-1 record in their past 10 games.



Biggest strengths:


Offensive Depth


They're young and hungry, and their offense scores the fourth most goals in the NHL (3.61 Goals per game). They are tied for second most 20+ goal scorers in the NHL with 6.


Home Ice Advantage

The Minnesota Wild have the fifth best home record at 24-7-2, and if things stay the same in the standings, they will hold a home-ice advantage over the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the Playoffs.





2. St. Louis Blues (39-20-10, 11th in NHL)


St. Louis will be a threat to play against in these Stanley Cup playoffs, and no team should take them lightly, as they showed us back in the 2018-19 season when they took home Lord Stanley.



Biggest strengths:


Offensive Depth

The St. Louis Blues may have the most depth in the NHL, being the only team which has a total of seven 20-goal scorers and with 250 goals scored, they are the 6th highest scoring team in the league.


Special teams

Special teams has been great for St. Louis this season. their PP% at 26.4% sits third best in the NHL, and their PK% at 83.1% sits sixth best in the NHL.





1. Nashville Predators (40-25-4, 14th in NHL)


The Predators have what it takes to be a successful team in the postseason. They've been spoiled all season with solid goaltending and their offensive weapons.



Biggest strengths:


Roman Josi

The Nashville captain has been a workhorse this season, not only leading Nashville in points by a significant gap, but also leading all NHL defensemen in points. He is currently on a pace for over 100 points which hasn't been done by a defensemen since Brian leitch in 1991-92. His leadership and talent will be a major factor in how far this Nashville team makes it in the postseason.



Special teams

Much like the other teams featured on this list, special teams have been a major strength for the Nashville Predators.


They have a strong powerplay that converts on 25% of opportunities, which is 6th best in the NHL. As well as a Penalty Kill that at 79.6% (15th in NHL) is fairly good.



Offense

The Predators have two players well on pace for over 40 goals this season. Filip Forsberg has 38 goals and 32 assists (70 points in 56 games), and Matt Duchene has 36 goals and 36 assists (72 points in 65 games).


Their 3.30 Goals per game puts them ninth in the NHL in scoring.






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