Seems where you play matters in terms of the relationship of special teams to team success. Consider the following table of our "ecstasy index" (power play plus penalty killing efficiency):
Among Eastern Conference teams that are currently playoff-eligible, six of them are in the top half of the rankings in this measure (note that the Caps are not among those six teams).
Meanwhile, out west, only two teams -- Vancouver and Detroit -- are in the top 15.
So far, special teams seems to matter in the East, not so much in the West.
How 'bout that?