The NHL's trade deadline has come and gone. Teams are what they are now. To coin a phrase: This is where the rubber meets the road.
No more excuses; just do or die. If you lost your best player to injury, but didn't make any moves to reduce the loss, too bad. If you made a trade for the guy you had your sights on, then it's time to put up or shut up.
The playoffs start in April, but for some teams, the playoffs are now. Every win is equally as important to their survival as it would be in the postseason.
Some teams will carry momentum that might push them a round or two past their expectations—maybe all the way.
Others will be so fattened from regular season success that playing in desperation mode might be a fatal shock to the system.
Allow me to present the five teams destined to choke or succeed in this year's NHL playoffs.