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Oilers look to pass Ducks for Pacific Division supremacy

McDavid, Draisaitl aiming for Edmonton's first regular-season title since '86-87

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

If last season were any indication, it could be another tight race between the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers for supremacy in the Pacific Division.

The Ducks have finished atop the division for the past five seasons and held off a serious challenge by the Oilers in 2016-17, winning by two points (105-103). 

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Predators could emerge as champion in competitive Central Division

Toews can power Blackhawks push; Bishop expected to help Stars improve

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

The Central Division has produced either the Stanley Cup champion or the runner-up three times in the past five seasons. Most of the seven teams in the division believe they can continue that dominance this season.

The Nashville Predators defied the odds last season by making it to the Stanley Cup Final after making the playoffs as the second wild card from the Western Conference. They return almost intact, except with Nick Bonino replacing the retired Mike Fisher as the No. 2 center.

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New season features intriguing storylines across League

McDavid-Crosby duel, Golden Knights debut, Penguins try for history among highlights

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

The 2017-18 NHL season begins with four games Wednesday. There are storylines aplenty to follow in a League that now consists of 31 teams with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Here are 17 things to watch and remember with the puck about to drop on the 101st season in NHL history:

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Lightning favored to win Atlantic Division

Sabres should improve; Bruins defenseman McAvoy expected to compete for Calder Trophy

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping the return of center Steven Stamkos along with the play of forward Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Victor Hedman can help them return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and make a deep run like they did in 2015-16 (Eastern Conference Final) and 2014-15 (Stanley Cup Final).

However, it won't be easy. The Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price) and Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask) can never be counted out because of their goaltending. The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs each are hoping to build on their success coming off a surprising postseason run.

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Penguins remain team to beat in Metropolitan Division

Hurricanes, Islanders poised for turnaround; Hischier ready to help Devils

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup championships since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-1983, but it won't come easy in the tough Metropolitan Division, where four of the eight teams (Penguins, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers) finished among the top nine in the NHL standings last season.

The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders are two non-playoff teams from last season that look ripe for a turnaround. The line of Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm brings excitement in Carolina, and Jordan Eberle could provide John Tavares the wingman he has needed for the Islanders.

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Golden Knights ready to take spotlight

At long last, showtime at hand for NHL expansion team

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

Those waiting to hear expectations for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural NHL season will be disappointed, because the architect politely declines to reveal them.

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Jets look to take next step with better goaltending, defense

Hope additions of Mason, Kulikov can support strong offense

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Conquering defensive demons is the Winnipeg Jets' key to unlocking a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

"We want to take care of our end first, work on defense, and trust that our skill is going score goals," center Bryan Little said.

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Capitals out to prove doubters wrong, remain in contention

Veterans have same high expectations despite turnover on defense

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals remain a work in progress with several players to replace and an identity to establish heading into their season opener against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Oct. 5. 

After an offseason of roster turnover that has them seeking replacements for two of their top six forwards and two of their top six defensemen, the Capitals are in a transition that might need some time to work itself out. They are also trying to move on from the disappointment of losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round for the second consecutive year despite winning the Presidents' Trophy two seasons in a row. 

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Canucks shooting for return to playoffs

New coach, offseason additions could help improve poor power play

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin didn't hesitate when asked what would make this season a success.

"Making the playoffs," he said.

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Maple Leafs counting on production from young players

Addition of veteran forward Marleau will help Matthews, Marner, Nylander

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- The pressure is on for the Toronto Maple Leafs to go on a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

Throughout training camp, coach Mike Babcock's underlying theme has been to guard against complacency, trying to drive home to his players that nothing is guaranteed in the NHL after Toronto in 2016-17 unexpectedly qualified for the playoffs for the first time in an 82-game season since 2003-04.

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