This just occurred to me. We often complain about the fact that the "Bettman point" (the point awarded to the loser in OT/SO games) makes games less exciting because teams have an incentive to play more conservatively just to get to overtime, where "everybody wins." However, so far, one force that keeps this in check is the fact that teams play within the conference 64 out of 82 games, and nobody wants to hand out extra points to rivals in their conference. And we have all observed the "who cares" attitude that takes over when playing out-of-conference games (i.e. it doesn't matter if we give away extra points to out-of-conference teams, because it doesn't affect our own playoff race).