In the NHL, regular-season standings won't tell you who will win the Stanley Cup. Just look at the past six years. Of the 12 conference champions, only one of them -- the 2008 Detroit Red Wings -- won it all.
But that doesn't mean the regular season is meaningless. It just means the "win-loss" column isn't a good predictor of postseason success.
So that's why we developed the Playoff Power Meter, featured in ESPN The Magazine's 2011-12 NHL Preview. It's a system that figures out which teams are best suited to win the Cup. And frankly, it's a simple system that we'll continue to monitor all season long.
Here's how it works: