It's difficult to conceive of any team winning a Stanley Cup unless it is strong on the defensive end.
A few generations ago, the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s could string together championships because they could outscore everyone. They had Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
In the early 1970s, the Boston Bruins set scoring records and won two Stanley Cups even though they did not always play stellar defense. They had Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.
Today's contenders must play air-tight defense.
In the early part of the season, a few teams are playing themselves out of contention with poor defensive play.
Going into the game action of Feb. 6, five teams had allowed 31 or more goals and appear to be playing the worst defensive hockey in the NHL.