It's so close they can almost taste it.

With less than 20 games to go before the arrival of the NHL playoffs, the teams most likely to be mapping out post-tournament parade routes can't help but envision the revelry.

But no matter how optimistic they feel during waking hours, the players, coaches and GMs all have the occasional stretch of sleepless nights.

Whether because of past playoff failures or recent regular-season difficulty, each team surely has a would-be opponent it simply doesn't want to see come April or beyond.

The B/R hockey team took a look at prospective paths for a handful of championship contenders and came up with the foe they'd least like to engage in a seven-game series.

Take a look at what we came up with, and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments.


Everyone: Boston

OK, let's do the math.

The Boston Bruins completed Saturday night having lost exactly nine regulation games.

Not nine this month. Not nine this year.

Exactly nine since the regular season began. Exactly (for them) 64 games ago.

They've secured 82 percent of possible standings points, winning 50 times, while losing just nine in regulation and five in OT/shootouts.

The prodigious point-securing clip has them 11 ahead of their nearest overall pursuer and 17 up on the second-place team in the Atlantic Division.

Given that success, the possibility of them losing four times in seven games to anyone seems remote at best. They've played each of the 31 remaining teams at least once and are unbeaten against 22 of them, and 2-1 against three others.

Only five teams have even managed to split a pair of games, and only one—the Ottawa Senators—has earned a majority of points against Boston in head-to-head matchups, with the Atlantic's fifth-place team winning once in regulation and once more in a shootout.

The Senators currently sit six points out of the East's final playoff spot and would make a fascinating first-round foe for the powerful Bruins, but outside of them, precisely no one is actively seeking out a trip to TD Garden come April.