It looks like the writing's on the wall for most of the first round teams. If you look at history, it pretty much dictates that the teams with 3 victories under their belt will make it through to the next round, leaving their opponents behind in the dust. You can feel the end is near for Montreal, Ottawa, Buffalo and New Jersey. As much as you want to be a fan, as much as you may believe in rewriting history and overcoming the odds, things look pretty clear.
I'm not a big believer in beginner's luck occurring twice, just as I'm not a believer in lightning striking the same place more than once. I'll watch tonight's match up between Ottawa and Pittsburgh more out of interest than a real hope of a win. And I'm a fan, so I'll stick with my team to the bitter end, which may be aptly said.
So my mind's already fast forwarded to the second round. There's a lot to look forward to. Boston may have a chance at taking on one of the dirtiest, rottenest teams in the East, the Philadelphia Flyers, led by Pronger. Will dirty play overcome scary Chara in the cage mask? And who can resist the showdown between Sid the Kid and Alexander the Great? Will this be a chance for revenge for the Russian Bear? Will the Great 8 get a chance to show just how good he really is when faced with his more attractive nemesis?
The West is not as easily won. There are still some good competitions going in the Western Conference with quite a few teams evenly matched. Expect some real nail-biters as these teams battle for position over the next few days. Unfortunately, being a hockey fan on this side of the coast, I'll be biting into pillows.
I still hope that Vancouver advances, as the only Canadian team with a viable chance at the second round. San Jose has history working against them again this year and I have mixed feelings about wanting them to succeed. On the one hand, it would be nice to see the team rewarded for their efforts and talents, on the other hand, I'm loathe to see Heatley succeed after his debacle in Ottawa.
I'm watching Detroit with interest because I have tremendous respect for the old warhorse. And wouldn't it be something if Nashville beat out the favourites for the Cup, the all-star Chicago Blackhawks? That would be an upset for the ages. It would also force us to re-evaluate the so-called Hossa curse.
Still more to come...