Adrian Dater
Tuesday April 23rd, 2013

Can Ryan Kesler stay healthy for the playoffs? Will the Presidents' Trophy curse Jon Toews' Hawks?
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

And down the stretch they come, the final yards of this NHL campaign that we will charitably call The Great 48.

Can Columbus hold on to the eighth spot in the West? Can the Blue Jackets really beat out Detroit and end the Red Wings' 21-year playoff streak? Can Winnipeg overcome the odds and slip past either Washington, the New York Rangers or Ottawa for the final spot in the East?

We'll have all the answers come Sunday, when the regular season ends. Meanwhile, there isn't much change at the top, with the Chicago Blackhawks hanging on to the first position in these here rankings, despite a loss on Monday night at Vancouver. Right on their heels remain the Pittsburgh Penguins, who just might get some guy named Crosby back by next week, if not sooner.

The real fun, in other words, is just about to start. So, this will be our final regular season ranking of all 30 teams. Next week we'll rank the playoff squads, but I'll let you know in what order the bottom 14 finished.

On to the list...

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