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5 NHL Teams With the Toughest Roads to the Playoffs in 2014-15

5 NHL Teams With the Toughest Road to the Playoffs in 2014-15

NHL
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There are countless factors that impact an NHL team's performance. Some of these factors include the players, the coaching staff, travel time and matchups. There are a handful of teams that have absolutely no hope of making it to the playoffs, but then there are some teams that have a chance but only if they are able to defy the odds stacked against them.

Here are the five NHL teams with the toughest road to the playoffs.

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets
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5. Columbus Blue Jackets

Derek MacKenzie
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The Blue Jackets need to work a lot harder this year if they want to secure a spot in the playoffs rather than being a wild card. The Blue Jackets must utilize their talented goaltender and young, flourishing lineup. Facing teams like the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins will be no easy task, but the Blue Jackets have it in them. One thing that isn't on Columbus' side this year is their travel schedule, which is the worst in the league.

4. Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers
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4. Philadelphia Flyers

Brayden Schenn
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Despite making it to the first round of the playoffs last season, the Flyers were not a well-established team. Since then, the Flyers have accomplished basically nothing to boost their chances of advancing further in the playoffs. They will also be faced with a difficult schedule, playing 14 back-to-back games and having only four rest days. 2014-15 could prove to be a rigorous year for the Flyers.

3. New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils
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3. New Jersey Devils

Tim Sestito
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The Devils have parted ways with legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur and replaced him with Cory Schneider. Schneider outplayed Broduer last season and looks to be a promising netminder, but the Devils are still facing problems such as a dearth of forwards. On top of that, the Devils will have to face teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals with 18 back-to-back games on their schedule.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs
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2. Toronto Maple Leafs

James Reimer
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Since the untimely end of their season, the Leafs have began revamping their roster. The Leafs have let nine players go to free agency while they have signed eight. These fresh faces could assist the Leafs to the playoffs, but this season, they will be facing more obstacles than just player incompetence. The Leafs will play 18 back-to-back games and have only five rest days. The upcoming schedule could really hamper their performance.

1. Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes
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1. Arizona Coyotes

Antoine Vermette
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Not only will the Coyotes be facing teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, but they will be playing 13 back-to-back games with only four rest days. The Coyotes will have their work cut out for them this season, especially since they lost top-line winger Radim Vrbata to free agency.

Amanda Sklarek is a Pittsburgh Penguins/NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandabukowski, “Like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.