They’re not being cocky or getting ahead of themselves. They just see it being a whole lot more possible than they could have imagined before all the league’s juggernauts starting falling.
With Carolina advancing to the Eastern Conference final and all three other wild-card teams still alive, a common sentiment in the room is, "Why not us?"
"It’s not necessarily the team that finishes with the most points, it’s who is playing the best going into the playoffs," said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar when asked about the stunning success of the teams previously known as underdogs.
"You’ve got teams that are ramping up their game the second half of the year, playing meaningful, high intensity games and they find out some things about themselves as a team and are able to advance. You can see Carolina, the way they are playing, they’re obviously a really good team right now."