Those teams also don't have Datsyuk and Zetterberg is my point. They don't have two elite two way forwards yet they have either gone just as far as the Wings, or further in the last couple years. Did you forget we had Lids, Raf, Kronwall, Stuart and Howie couldn't win? Those 4 are better than any top 4 you just named. Then mix in D and Z.
Do you remember when Nashville knocked us out ? Do you remember the performance Rinne put on? We couldn't even score.
Toronto forwards are fast but suck ass on defense, and their top 4 are not good at all (I watch quite abit of Leaf games). They took Boston to game 7 and should have went to the next round except for the choke.
We have a better team then New York, but Lunqvist keeps them in every single year and have made it further then us in a couple playoffs now since 2009.
Howard just doesn't have what it takes to get it done when it matters. This year just screams, not so good D = your true goalie.
While I admit that Jimmy isn't a goalie that will steal many games much less an entire series like Lundqvist or Rinne, he is a far better goalie than Reimer is.
The NYR have a stronger defensive group of defensemen than we do and that can help Lundqvist out...I mean McDonough and Klein both block a lot of shots and clear rebounds very well. I am not making excuses for Howard but you're not factoring in some of the shall we say, disadvantages Howard has in comparison to some other goalies.
We are really lucky to have the two best two way players in the league on our side and that can only help from a defensive standpoint. Having Lids, Raf, Stuart, Kronwall as the top four with Jimmy as the starter is a bit of a catch 22. Yes, that is an amazing top four but Jimmy was in his first two seasons as "the guy" and that comes with some adjustments (especially in the playoffs). You also have to factor in that Rafalski wasn't getting any younger (this doesn't apply to Nick), Stuart had won his Cup and his head and heart were in a different place in 2010 and Kronwall missed half a season due to injury.
All that said, I do agree with you. However, if we put the Howard of last year in a net with the aforementioned top 4, I think he would definitely be a winner.