The NHL has plenty of ways of rewarding the regular season's best teams: the Presidents' Trophy, home-ice advantage in the playoffs and matchups with the lowest available seeds all qualify as the benefits of being the best team in hockey.
Of course, each of these rewards means nothing compared to the Stanley Cup, and as the Los Angeles Kings showed us last season, that prize can be won by any team in the playoffs.
Thus, in the grand scheme of things, being good all year isn't as beneficial as playing your best hockey at the right time. The eighth-seeded Kings looked poised to miss the playoffs for most of the 2011-12 season, barely qualifying for the playoffs following a late charge.
Once the playoffs began, the team was virtually unbeatable.
As teams compete in the shortened 2013 season, the teams well-equipped to handle the pressure of the playoffs will thrive. These teams will likely need postseason experience, depth and goaltending to stay strong when the going gets tough.
Let's take a look at the five teams that will hit their strides in the postseason...as long as they make the postseason.