It's only probably preposterous now. The Devils can actually cool off – slightly -- and make the playoffs.

To reach 88 points, the Devils had to go 33-8 starting Jan. 9. They've exploded to a 15-1-2 tune, whittling down that Preposterous Dream to a far more believable 17-6 finish. They can even get halfway to the 66 points they need since that low point when they visit Jamie Langenbrunner and the Stars tomorrow in Dallas.

Guarding against any overconfidence, assistant coach Larry Robinson gathered them around him during practice yesterday to deliver a calm, measured, but heartfelt reminder that there won't be any miracle if their intensity falls off.

Coach Jacques Lemaire made it clear he wasn't irked by his team in yesterday's unexpected workout following three vital – and convincing - victories in four nights. They could be forgiven for relaxing a moment, except they won't be, because they can't. They'll need every bit of any extra room for error they've earned. They can only drop 12 points in their final 23 games and still hold any postseason hope.

"Everybody's saying, 'You guys are winning because there's no pressure on you.' No pressure? Every game we play is pressure. Really, they all are big games for us," said Brian Rolston, who turns 38 today.

"But we feel like a team now. That's something we didn't have earlier," added Rolston, who has three goals in four games, and eight in this 18-game explosion. He scored his 10th in Saturday's 4-1 victory in Raleigh, the start of four straight road games.