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Wyshynski: Why the NHL Thanksgiving standings trend may not continue this season

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Published in Hockey
Monday, 27 November 2023 06:04

Minnesota Wild coach Dean Evason can read a calendar.

His team was predicted by many to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fifth straight season and for the 11th time in 12 seasons. But the Wild were seven points out of a playoff spot on Nov. 23, aka American Thanksgiving.

"Everything's absolutely negative around everything. But we can't be negative," he said. "If we just continue to stay that way, then we're not going to get out of this. We have to have a little pushback."

It's hard not to feel pessimistic for any team that's outside of the playoff picture on Turkey Day. Since the NHL began its wild-card format in 2013-14, 76.6% of the teams in a playoff spot on U.S. Thanksgiving ended up advancing to the postseason.

But here's a message of hope for the Wild and everyone else chasing a playoff berth: There have been seasons when this trend has been bucked. There have been years when the postseason field looks starkly different than it does on Thanksgiving. And I think we're in for another season of playoff berth upheaval.

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