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Every NHL season has its share of teams that end up doing better than predicted by the experts.
This season is no different. The Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers have exceeded expectations and find themselves near the top of the standings or holding a playoff berth.
The Canucks struggled with consistency and injuries over the past three seasons as well as changes in their front office and behind the bench. With a healthy and productive roster led by core stars Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Thatcher Demko and Brock Boeser, they’re now jockeying for first place in the overall standings.
This season was supposed to be a transition year for the Bruins following the retirements of centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejčí, Instead, they’re battling for first overall led by sniper David Pastrňák, captain Brad Marchand, defenseman Charlie McAvoy and the goaltending duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.
After several seasons of decline and an offseason that saw the departures of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler, the Jets were expected to be a playoff bubble club. Led by core stars Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor and Josh Morrissey as well as promising Cole Perfetti, they’re just six points behind the Canucks and Bruins.
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