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ANALYSIS: NHL’s playoff marathon shaping up to be one of best ever

What we are witnessing just might be the NHL’s greatest postseason ever.

The eight teams that advanced to the second round all felt they had a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup. And now with the Rangers’ elimination of Carolina, perhaps it is the Broadway Blueshirts who have the upper hand to win it all.

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You see, in the war of attrition that is the two-month hockey marathon, inevitably it’s the healthiest team that has the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Florida, who can eliminate Boston on Friday night, are fully aware that losing to the Bruins can only enhance the Rangers’ situation in preparing for the Eastern Conference Final.

Click to play video: 'Jets fans react to playoff loss'

Jets fans react to playoff loss

Similarly, the Dallas Stars have to be frustrated that they were unable to close out Colorado on Wednesday, thus forcing a sixth game in Denver for Friday night. The Stars, who have key players like Roope Hintz and Chris Tanev limping through this series, were looking ahead to the West final (perhaps prematurely), against Vancouver or Edmonton, who are punishing each other to advance.

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All season long, in both conferences, we have seen these teams — these really good teams — preparing for the inevitable. Good teams were going to be eliminated in this round of the playoffs, long before Gary Bettman presents the Stanley Cup. Of the top nine teams in the league, only the Jets failed to get to this round.

And probably by Sunday, four more teams will be joining Winnipeg on the sidelines, and probably proclaiming this season a lost cause.

Teams like the Hurricanes will probably look at making changes, on and off the ice. And you have to wonder which of the next four losers will make a decision to shuffle their own decks before next season.

Such is the life in the NHL, where falling short of the ultimate goal might lead to a change of address, even if the long hockey season has been filled with success.

Just don’t lose your last game.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: Year-end review'

John Shannon on the Jets: Year-end review

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