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NHL preview capsules
In order of projected finish
1. Washington Capitals | 50-24-8 (108 pts in 2008-09)
Reason for hope: Another year of Alex Ovechkin, possibly a full year from Semyon Varlamov and the addition of Mike Knuble to give the Caps a guy who stands in front of the net, deflecting goals.
Reason for despair: High expectations? The lineup has only gotten better since last season, with a group of young players coming back after getting another taste of the playoffs. The pressure is on.
2. Philadelphia Flyers | 44-27-11 (99 points)
Reason for hope: The big guy on the blue line with the mean streak and the Stanley Cup ring, Chris Pronger, has the Flyers’ hopes on his broad shoulders.
Reason for despair: It’s the goaltending situation. Will Ray Emery be able to keep from imploding and recapture some of the form that helped the Senators reach the Cup finals in 2007?
3. Boston Bruins | 53-19-10 (116 points)
Reason for hope: This is basically the same team that finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, with Zdeno Chara and goalie Tim Thomas back for a shot at the Cup.
Reason for despair: Phil Kessel was obviously not the sole reason for the Bruins’ success last season, but his departure coincides with the loss of 36 goals and 24 assists.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins | 45-28-9 (99 points)
Reason for hope: See that big shiny trophy? Awesome playoff goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and the usual contributions of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will make the Penguins a serious contender for years to come.
Reason for despair: They have lost a lot of defense, looking to young players like Alex Goligoski and veterans like Jay McKee to make up for the departure of a lot of toughness on the blue line.
5. New York Rangers | 43-30-9 (95 points)
About the Author
- The Capitals' Cup full of dreams
- Capitals' Green left off Canada's roster
- Capitals' new addition brings energy
- Capitals trade their captain to Columbus
- Disastrous first period dooms Capitals
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