The second round is going to be interesting and it's going to be a fight. At least for some of the teams. But regardless of the outcome of the first games, I don't expect to see any sweeps.
The Price is Wrong
Montreal and Pittsburgh look to be the match up where a four game sweep may be possible. Nevertheless, I expect Montreal to rally for at least one win, probably in a game 4 situation when they're nearing the brink of extinction, as the expectations will be lowered and Pittsburgh seems to have trouble sealing the deal on that last game.
Things aren't looking good for the Habs, with the injury of Markov who had to head home unexpectedly. When listening to the comments by the coach, one can't help but feel a bit scared for the shaky Montreal defense, as he declares that they will need the 6 other guys to step it up. It's never reassuring to hear that 6 guys will have to do the work of 1.
And then there's the non-committal approach to the goaltender situation. As if there can be any doubt as to which starter is going to take them all the way. The Price is wrong, Bob. Instead of doing what he should be doing, namely, giving it to the defense, he's decided to switch off the one powerful player on the team.
It's been said that he wants to rest Halak. In that case, it looks like he wants to rest the entire team too, because he just threw out their best chance to win today's game. Looks like the motto for today will be "we'll get them next time." In that case, thanks for showing up guys.
Redemption in Boston
Boston and Philadelphia went head to head in an afternoon thriller as well and a lot of the emphasis was put on Philadelphia's injury woes and the return of the prodigal kid, Marc Savard, playing for the first time since his concussion. Most people would have been happy to give him a standing O just for showing up on the ice and lacing up his own skates, but Savard did one better by scoring the game winning goal in overtime. Faced with the dirty rottonest cheaters of the NHL minus their star player Jeff Carter and the mediocre netminding by Brian Boucher, good team play may actually overcome.
The Curse has been lifted
San Jose and Detroit are going to scrap their way into a seventh heaven for sure. San Jose seems to have finally shaken off the President trophy's curse and come out aggressively. It makes sense that they're playing with more strength and more swagger, considering that they've been waiting to make the second round for a few seasons now. Detroit is not the kind of team that will go softly into that good night, so this will be one worth watching.
People will feel free to make comments about the aging Detroit squad, as this is clearly a group that has no trouble growing playoff beards. But instead of slowing down, this group is just getting better and better. What can you say about the Zetterbergs, the Lindstroms, the Datsyuks of the world? Be afraid, be very afraid.
Reversal of Fortune
Vancouver and Chicago have some very recent history from last season and the wounds still show. Like a bad breakup, Vancouver's planning on getting its revenge by showing that they're better and stronger than ever before and so far, it's working. It also helps that it's true. This team is brilliant. It's getting a lot of offensive firepower to back up Lou's heroics in net. As long as he can lay off the theatrics whenever opponents charge the net, this team has a real potential to upset the highly favoured Chicago Blackhawks. And don't forget Chicago's bad joujou with their controversial mural. Advantage is definitely to the Canucks.
There is a clear momentum shift that is occurring with the second round underway. As the race gets tighter, let's hope for more of the best on best.