The Boston Bruins won their second Presidents Trophy for earning the most regular season points. That earned them a nice team photo opportunity, but winning another Stanley Cup is all these guys really care about.
That goal is reasonable. They roll four very good lines. Veterans Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla got better as the season went on.
Their power play ranked third in the NHL with a 21.7 percent conversion rate. Their young defensemen settled in nicely around bulwark Zdeno Chara. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has game-stealing flair.
"Every team is different," Bruins forward Brad Marchand told Boston reporters. 'It's tough to top a team that you win with, but we definitely have a great team in here. A lot of great talent and we're very deep this year, and I think that's what makes a great team. Hopefully we can put it all together in the playoffs."
Boston goes into the playoffs as the top team in our power rankings, again. Here is how the NHL pecking order shakes out:
GOOD NEWS: Their extra time off this week should have them much closer to full speed for Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings.
BAD NEWS: For whatever reason the Bruins have struggled in first-round series. Their last three went to Game 7.
BOTTOM LINE: After nearly winning the Stanley Cup last season, the Bruins want to finish the job this season. They have all the weapons necessary.
GOOD NEWS: Center Ryan Getzlaf scored 31 goals this season, a career high.
BAD NEWS: Veteran goaltender Jonas Hiller faded, putting significant pressure on fill-in Frederik Andersen. He survived Game 1, but it got right at the end.
BOTTOM LINE: The Ducks have enough firepower to send inevitable Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne out of the NHL in style.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
GOOD NEWS: Forward Joe Pavelski scored 41 goals, a career high, and finished with 23 points in his last 21 games.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Antti Niemi struggled late, posing at 3.11 goals-against average in his final six games.
BOTTOM LINE: This team has ridiculous firepower, especially with Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres returning from injuries.
GOOD NEWS: Ryan O'Reilly finished with a career-high 64 points while thriving in coach Patrick Roy's go-go offensively style.
BAD NEWS: Top center Matt Duchene remains sidelined by his knee injury.
BOTTOM LINE: Goaltender Semyon Varlamov handled the pressure of playing for Roy. So he should be ready for the playoff angst. He led the league with 41 victories and was third with a .927 save percentage.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
GOOD NEWS: Coach Ken Hitchcock insisted that all of his injured forwards could return at some point during the first-round series.
BAD NEWS: They staggered into the playoffs with a six-game losing streak.
BOTTOM LINE: As their injured players return to the mix one-by-one, can the Blues regain their dominant early-season form?
GOOD NEWS: Top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane recovered from their late-season injuries and got back to full speed.
BAD NEWS: The St. Louis Blues hold the home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
BOTTOM LINE: The Blackhawks know how to win at this time of the year. Eight of their players have won two Stanley Cups.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
GOOD NEWS: Winger Marian Gaborik scored 16 points in 19 games down the stretch, settling in nicely with his new teammates.
BAD NEWS: They Kings struggled with discipline this season, ending up shorthanded 296 times.
BOTTOM LINE: If goaltender Jonathan Quick can regain his edge, LA could go on another long postseason run. He leads all goaltenders in playoff wins (25), shutouts (6), goals-against average (1.62) and has a .940 save percentage during the past two postseasons.
GOOD NEWS: No. 2 center Evgeni Malkin vowed to return for this playoff round after recovering from a foot injury. Top center Sidney Crosby played at least 80 games for just the third time in his career and reached the 100-point plateau for the fifth time.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was terrible during the previous four postseasons. Can he reverse the trend?
BOTTOM LINE: Coach Dan Bylsma is under considerable pressure to take a deep run, despite all the injuries that limited his team. The Penguins rallied in Game 1 for him.
GOOD NEWS: Energetic forward Brandon Prust returned to the lineup after missing a month with a shoulder injury.
BAD NEWS: Containing Steven Stamkos will be no small task in the playoffs, as the Canadiens saw in Game 1 of their series with Tampa Bay.
BOTTOM LINE: They carry quite a burden as the only Canadian team in the playoffs. These are frustrating times in the Great White North.
NEW YORK RANGERS
GOOD NEWS: Winger Rick Nash tied a team record by scoring nine game-winning goals this season.
BAD NEWS: The Rangers were just 20-17-4 at Madison Square Garden.
BOTTOM LINE: They roll into the playoffs with plenty of momentum after their late 10-3-1 run. Getting top defenseman Ryan McDonagh back from his shoulder injury will only make them better.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
GOOD NEWS: Victor Hedman finally arrived as one of the NHL's top defensemen, finishing with 55 points. Also, Ondrej Palat emerged as an impact scorer with a 59-point season.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Ben Bishop is sidelined by an elbow injury. The drop-off to Anders Lindback (8-12-2 this season) is huge. The Lightning saw that while losing Game 1.
BOTTOM LINE: The Lightning got younger after the Vincent Lecavalier buyout and the Martin St. Louis trade. Troubled winger Ryan Malone may be the next to go. This team has long-range staying power.
GOOD NEWS: They were 21-2-1 this season when top forward Claude Giroux scored a goal.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Steve Mason opened the playoffs on the injured list, putting back-up Ray Emery on the spot. But Emery is 7-2 with a 1.87 GAA and .936 save percentage in 10 career games against the New York Rangers.
BOTTOM LINE: Reaching postseason play after a dreadful 4-10-1 start was a huge accomplishment. But Philly fans want much, much more.
GOOD NEWS: Center Mikael Granlund recovered from his head injury and rejoined the lineup for the playoffs
BAD NEWS: The Ghost of Dany Heatley remains a curse on the franchise.
BOTTOM LINE: This team will rise or fall on the play of enigmatic goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who posted a 7-1-3 record and 2.12 goals-against average since arriving from the Edmonton Oilers.
GOOD NEWS: Cornerstone center Tyler Seguin brought the experience of 42 postseason games into these playoffs.
BAD NEWS: Key defenseman Brenden Dillon is hobbled by a lower-body injury.
BOTTOM LINE: The Stars were glad to make the playoffs, but they are massive underdogs to the Anaheim Ducks. Their Game 1 rally fell just short.
DETROIT RED WINGS
GOOD NEWS: Coach Mike Babcock managed to fast-forward the development of young players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco while dealing with a massive injury list.
BAD NEWS: Key forward Henrik Zetterberg didn't recover from back surgery in time to start the playoffs.
BOTTOM LINE: Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each missed 37 games with injuries and the Red Wings still kept their playoff streak alive.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky earned five shutouts and ranked ninth in the NHL this season with his .923 save percentage.
BAD NEWS: They went 0-5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, getting outscored 16-7 in the process. That failure continued in Game 1 of this series.
BOTTOM LINE: The Blue Jackets will have to bang away at the Penguins and hope that Bobrovsky can steal some games.
GOOD NEWS: Blue-chip prospects Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson could give this team a huge lift next season.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Mike Smith was sidelined down the stretch with a sprained knee.
BOTTOM LINE: The late-season Coyotes collapse could trigger significant change for next season.
GOOD NEWS: Injury-plagued defenseman Mike Green played 70 games for just the fifth time in his career and the first year since 2009-10.
BAD NEWS: Center Mikhail Grabovski is reluctant to commit to the Capitals until he sees which direction the franchise will take.
BOTTOM LINE: General manager George McPhee and/or coach Adam Oates could depart as this underachieving team reorganizes. Will anybody figure out how to get the most from elite forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom?
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
GOOD NEWS: Jonathan Bernier could be a solid No. 1 goaltender if the Maple Leafs ever get organized defensively.
BAD NEWS: The rumor mill is churning again, leaving lots of Leafs wondering about their future. James Reimer and Cody Franson are just two of the players likely to move along.
BOTTOM LINE: New team president Brendan Shanahan just earned a ticket to one of the hottest seats in the NHL. Can he offer this perennial underachiever more than just good PR?
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
GOOD NEWS: Hockey czar Lou Lamoriello elected to stay the course with coach Peter DeBoer.
BAD NEWS: Their poor finish won't earn them a high draft pick. They will pick 30th overall as punishment for circumventing the salary cap in the collective bargaining agreement by signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a comical 17-year, $102 million contract in 2010.
BOTTOM LINE: Goaltender Cory Schneider is one cornerstone to build around, but can the Devils develop more of their young veterans into impact players?
GOOD NEWS: Mika Zibanejad scored 16 goals and demonstrated the potential to grow into a first- or second-line center.
BAD NEWS: When ownership suggests the team needs more leadership, that can't make the team captain and head coach feel great.
BOTTOM LINE: GM Bryan Murray has some interesting trade chips to play if he opts for a rebuild. Many teams would bid on center Jason Spezza.
GOOD NEWS: Defenseman Shea Weber scored 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) on his final 17 games.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Pekka Rinne returned from his post-surgical hip infection but struggled down the stretch.
BOTTOM LINE: The Predators are looking for their second coach in franchise history. GM David Poile finally pulled the plug on Barry Trotz after 15 seasons.
GOOD NEWS: Daniel Sedin didn't suffer a serious injury after taking a hard fall into the boards in the season finale.
BAD NEWS: The Canucks are running out of time to reap the full benefit of having the Sedin twins in their lineup.
BOTTOM LINE: New team president Trevor Linden must chart a new course for a team that got old quickly.
GOOD NEWS: After replacing hapless coach Claude Noel, Paul Maurice led the Jets to a 18-12-5 record.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec ranked 70th in the NHL with a .901 save percentage and 69th with a goals against average of 3.01.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite the team's late fade, Maurice got a new four-year deal and Pavelec got a vote of confidence from Kevin Cheveldayoff. Why?
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Anton Khudobin went 19-14 with a goals-against average of 2.30.
BAD NEWS: Winger Alexander Semin suffered a wrist injury that will require surgical repairs.
BOTTOM LINE: They have missed the playoffs in seven of the eight years since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Hence the need for change.
GOOD NEWS: Sean Monahan gives them something they haven't had in a while -- a blue-chip young forward worth building around.
BAD NEWS: Gritty forward Mike Cammalleri figures to move along to a contender as a free agent.
BOTTOM LINE: New Flames president Brian Burke has plenty to do. His top priorities: Finding a true No. 1 goaltender and getting his hair under control.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
GOOD NEWS: Cornerstone center John Tavares gave the franchise a vote of confidence, insisting he will happy to finish the four remaining contract years with the Islanders.
BAD NEWS: Coach Jack Capuano will return to the bench, ensuring that not much will change.
BOTTOM LINE: The Islanders need a turning point. Perhaps that will only come with the sale of the franchise.
GOOD NEWS: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins give this team a terrific offensive nucleus.
BAD NEWS: Despite that, the Oilers finished 30th, 30th, 29th, 24 and 28th in the overall standings the last five seasons.
BOTTOM LINE: Failed coach Dallas Eakins got a vote of confidence from GM Craig MacTavish. Pardon Oilers fans for not celebrating with a party.
GOOD NEWS: They won the NHL Draft lottery, earning the first overall pick ahead of the Sabres.
BAD NEWS: The Roberto Luongo contract will become an albatross, even with the Vancouver Canucks paying part of the freight.
BOTTOM LINE: Young forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad could become an outstanding long-term nucleus.
GOOD NEWS: The season is over so nobody will have to watch this team play again.
BAD NEWS: Their 51 losses were the most in the NHL since 2000-01.
BOTTOM LINE: Ted Nolan will return to oversee the rebuild next season, but he will have all new assistant coaches -- and probably a much different roster as well.