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Do you believe in near-acles?

After repeated postseason breakdowns, one of these clubs could finally break the curse

Updated: March 30, 2011, 4:19 PM ET
By Craig Button | Special to ESPN The Magazine

Note: This story appears in the April 4 edition of ESPN The Magazine.

Close doesn't cut it when it comes to pursuing the Stanley Cup. In the postlockout years, a number of elite regular-season squads disappeared during the playoffs, prolonging championship droughts. Four Cup-hungry franchises now sit near the top of the league. Same old song? Not necessarily. A handful of changes and a winter's worth of evidence suggest that one from this quartet could finish the postseason ...

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