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After another long regular season, a number of teams emerged as favorites in the Eastern Conference.
After struggling through with a new defensive system, the Washington Capitals were able to claim the top spot in the East for a second year in a row. Despite dispatching the Rangers without much of a problem, the Capitals still have a nagging problem that might just bite them in the you know what.
Once again, they have entered the playoffs with goaltending questions. After riding Holtby down the stretch, the Capitals turned to their early-season starter, Michael Neuvirth, for the playoffs. If the Caps run into a team that can actually pose an offensive threat, Boudreau won't hesitate to yank his goalie at the first sign of trouble.
He did it last year and the year before. They have three young netminders that can collapse at any moment.
Speaking of goaltenders, the Flyers are once again struggling between the pipes. After playing much of the season as the team's No. 1, Sergei Bobrovsky has been relegated to the press box after one bad game.
His replacements, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton, have been trading poor outings with one another. After the debacle that was Game 5 of that series, I doubt that Flyers skaters have any confidence in their last line of defense.
The Penguins are without their two best forwards and there is no indication as to when Sidney Crosby might come back. They may get past the Lightning, but it's unlikely they'd be able to maintain such a high level of play for much longer.
Finally, although Tim Thomas stole the show in Game 5, he's had as many bad moments as he has good ones.
For every brilliant save, there's been a brutal rebound. The Bruins have also received little offense from their leading regular-season scorer, while Zdeno Chara hasn't had the same zip on his slapshot since the playoffs began.
The Habs have their fair share of problems, but so does the competition. With a little sound coaching, these weaknesses can be exploited. There is no super team this year, like the Blackhawks last season.
The Habs have as good a shot as anyone at this point.