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NHL 2024 playoff predictions: will the Rangers end the Presidents’ Trophy curse?

<span>The <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/teams/ny-rangers/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New York Rangers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New York Rangers</a> had a great regular season but the playoffs are a different beast. </span><span>Photograph: Bill Kostroun/AP</span>

Will the Presidents’ Trophy curse be lifted?

In clinching the Presidents’ Trophy – awarded to the team with the best regular season record – the New York Rangers now hope to break the curse that purportedly jinxes its holders to playoff failure. It’s been a decade since a Presidents’ Trophy-winning team, the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks, went on to win that year’s Stanley Cup. Are the Rangers that kind of team?

The Rangers have five players – Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, and Adam Fox – with more than 60 points this season. They score a lot on the power play (26.4%) and are effective on the kill (84.5%). They’re good in the faceoff circle (52.3%) and very good in overtime (win percentage: .750). They’ll even beat you when you’ve got them beat – New York had 28 comeback wins this year, the most in the league. But New York can also be messy. Early in 2024, the Rangers looked like they’d lost their touch, dropping seven of 10 games through January, including to teams such as San Jose and Montreal, before finally hitting a winning streak again. Another point of interest: New York’s goal differential in five-on-five situations for the season was just, uh … one. The Rangers are not scared to cause a ruckus, and they may have to rely on power play goals to get them through. A likely showdown with the formidable Carolina Hurricanes may await the Rangers in the second round – that is, unless they crash out in an upset to the Washington Capitals (who they lost to twice this season). The curse won’t be easy to break.

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Most likely to emerge from the West

Teams such as Colorado, Vancouver, and Edmonton have had more attention this year, but the Dallas Stars are the true final boss in the West. The Stars had eight forwards with 20 or more goals, and two with 30 or more this season, the kind of depth that most teams – especially those who technically score more, thanks to one or two key players (see: the Leafs) – can only dream of. Combined with solid goaltending from Jake Oettinger (.904 save percentage), the fifth-best power play in the league, and the third-best goals-for-per-game (trailing only Edmonton and Toronto), the Stars are a serious contender. Dallas start where they left off last postseason,…

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