Where NHL teams stand after Thanksgiving – Yahoo Sports

View photosThe playoff picture is starting to materialize. (AP)More

Black Friday is usually the cut-off for playoff futility.

That is to say, it’s rare — but not impossible — for teams outside a playoff spot at this point in the season (now at least a quarter of the way through for all but a handful of teams) to actually make the postseason.

That hasn’t been the case, at least not as much, in recent years thanks to the change in playoff formats. In the salary cap era, about three-quarters of all playoff teams were comfortably in a postseason position as of American Thanksgiving.

This year, like so many others in recent years, the standings are pretty tightly packed around the playoff bubble, with a lot of mediocre-seeming teams seeming real mediocre indeed.

Worth noting that if you can reasonably get yourself to somewhere between 95 and 97 points between the end of the season, you’re basically guaranteeing yourself a playoff spot. As such, it’s more instructive to look at the pace at which teams are currently playing, and how well they will need to play the rest of the way to reach that 95-97 point range.

Which, let’s call it 96 for simplicity’s sake, but keep in mind that in the East last year, the Panthers hit 96 and missed the postseason by a point. The way things are going in the league this year, though, 96 looks like a comfortable milestone.

Here’s where things stood in the wake of the biggest turkey-eating day of the year:

View photosVia NHL.comMore

As you can see, 10 teams are playing at a pace for 100 points and can therefore afford to falter at least a bit. Problematically for four of them, though, they’re in the Atlantic Division, meaning that competition for them will be much fiercer than

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