Eight teams, four series, and one fan's opinions:
Eastern Conference --
Pittsburgh (4) vs. Montreal (8): The fact that Montreal pulled the biggest upset since the 1987 Minnesota Twins still doesn't help the fact that Montreal is under-sized, out-gunned and in way over their collective heads. The only way that the Pens lose this series, is if they beat themselves. Which, with Sidney Crosby on a roll right now, I really don't see happening.
Pens in 5.
Boston (6) vs. Philadelphia (7): The Bruins were happy just to get to this point, as they were not assured of a playoff spot until the last Friday night of the regular season. The Flyers had to go to OT vs. the Rangers to get in on the last day of the season. The lack of Bruins offense and the chippiness of the Flyers seem to cancel each other out, in a strange sort of way. This series will get physical, and the Bruins are the one team in the East who will dish out as much as they get. Bruins in 6.
Western Conference --
San Jose (1) vs. Detroit (5): I thought Detroit was going to show up for Game 1 of this series. Or did they not have enough $$ on hand, to pay the $2500 FAA fine for their too-late arrival at San Jose's airport? Whatever happened, the Red Wings sure made disbelievers out of me with their less-than-scintillating Game 1 'performance'. San Jose played probably their best game in April in three years vs. the Wings in game 1: the question now is, can they keep it up? Sharks' fans better hope so, for the sake of the franchise, as this team is one series defeat from 'Extreme Makeover: NHL Edition'. This is a tough one to call, but... Red Wings in 7.
Chicago (2) vs. Vancouver (3): Blackhawks came out to a thunderous ovation for Game 1 Saturday night, and promptly...laid an egg. But it was pointed out, the Hawks have lost game 1 of the last three series and have won two of the three series. So, hoping that last night was an aberration was not out of the question. Vancouver, on the other hand, did exactly what they wanted to do in Game 1; that is, run the Hawks ragged, and basically play keep-away with the puck. Hawks need some more 'grit' in order to slow down the Sedin twins and Mikael Samuelsson, who really has to be loving his hockey life right about now. Hawks need to pick up their pace to out-do Daniel and Henrik. But if this season is to be considered a success in Chi-town, they'll have to. Another toughie, but... Hawks in 7.
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