Here are the teams with the best chances of winning the Stanley Cup, according to SI's Pierre McGuire (all statistics through Sunday).
The defending champions have more weapons, including lethal special teams, than any other club. It will be important to rest premier goaltender Martin Brodeur, who played in 38 of 42 games, before the playoffs begin.
Colorado is loaded offensively, and center Joe Sakic is the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy. Patrick Roy had a solid first half (2.13 goals-against average), but he looked a bit shaky against the better teams.
This is a well-balanced club with lots of grit and outstanding special teams. The big question mark is in goal: Roman Turek faltered in last spring's playoffs, and while 23-year-old Brent Johnson has been terrific as Turek's backup (he had a league-leading 1.62 goals-against average), he's still a rookie.
They play an in-your-face game. Right wing Owen Nolan (14 goals in 29 games) is the key offensively, while the defensive duo of Marcus Ragnarsson and Mike Rathje usually shuts down the opponents' top line. Will rookie goalie Evgeni Nabokov (1.94 goals-against average) hold up down the stretch, or will San Jose trade for a veteran netminder?
Ottawa has as much speed and skill as any other team in the league, but it badly needs a power-play quarterback. Goaltenders Patrick Lalime and Jani Hurme, who share the No. 1 job and were unknown quantities heading into the season, have held up well.
6. RED WINGS
If they're going to make a run at the Cup, they need to deal for a goalie—say, the Canadiens' Jeff Hackett—who will allow them to junk the pairing of journeyman Manny Legace and disappointing Chris Osgood. Detroit still has a potent offense and can grind with the best in the league.
New coach Bill Barber has successfully implemented an aggressive forechecking game, but Philly could use another defenseman who can move the puck. If the Flyers get the right players in a trade for unsigned restricted free agent Eric Lindros, they could upset the Devils in the East.
On defense they're as good as any club, but the big concern is volatile goaltender Ed Belfour, who bolted the team for four days last week after clashing with coach Ken Hitchcock.