Last year I cared about finishing first -- now I realise how stupid it is. Let us finish 8th, the regular season means nothing as long as we play well when it matters (you know when )
Last year was fun because we just enjoyed the ride after the team had surpassed expectations quite early. We just wanted to see how far the ride could go.
This year feels more business-like. The habs are expected to have a deep playoff run (whether these are fair expectations or not is another argument). So you're right, it doesn't really matter where the team finishes because they will be judged in the post season.
I'd rather the team not work their ass off to try to catch Boston and leave some in the tank to ensure that they are 100% for the post-season. We worked our ***** off last year to catch the Conference win (which we got because Pittsburgh tanked their last game, I should add) and ended up watching several players get hurt after a very healthy season. I'd rather get a very good record and then ride it to the post-season.