A team that would scare me would be Buffalo. They are very fast and have given us a lot of trouble this year. Miller and even Biron (if he's still around then) have both played very well. And they are disciplined and more physical than we are. Ottawa if they have at least most of their best players--otherwise I think they might falter again. The Devils seem to be coming on. These teams all have great goaltending and IMO you don't win without that. The Hurricanes have had a great season but I don't think I can comment about their goaltending as I haven't seen either Gerber or Ward that much. The Flyers are a resilient team but they need to get their team back together and even so I don't think Esche is going more than a round or two. Year after year it's the same story with them. Their goaltending is their Achilles's heel. Ditto with Tampa and Grahame. I don't think he's good enough. Don't see them going all the way again.
those three can combine for four goals four times in seven games. Further, Hasek does have the ability to turn it on when he wants. And of those losses, Emery took 4 in which the Sens were shutout twice, scored one goal once and three goals once and Emery gave up 2, 4 5 and 5 goals in those games - he won't be playing in the playoffs.
Any team is scary in the playoffs, because you can pretty much toss the regular season out the window.
Endurance, the right bounces and the ability to adjust are the keys.
The playoffs are more like a race than a skills competition. If your team gets worn down or beat up, they're not going to survive.
Pacing becomes very important at the end of the season and during the earlier rounds of the playoffs.
For the Rangers that is going to be especially important on a team that has so many Olympians who could go deep into the Olympic tournament and has more than a few offensive players on the wrong side of 30. By April, Jagr will be 34, Nylander 32 1/2, Straka around 34 1/2, Rucinsky 35, and Rucchin inching closer to 35.
Pacing those guys at the end of the season and the playoffs will be crucial.