The rest of the rest is shaking out maybe like this:
San Joe Chokers vs. Red-Hot Wings
San Jose's hump to get over is not round one despite what happened in the 2009 playoffs, it's this round where they have failed three out of the last four playoff years.
It's not looking all that good for 2010 either.
Now maybe you can get by with the other Joe (Pavleski) being your leading scorer vs. the Avs, but against the Red Wings, the No. 1 Joe (Thornton) is going to have to pick up his game.
With a hobbled Dany Heatley, I'm not betting on that.
Also, could we please get off Evgeni Nabokov's back. He may not be the second coming of Vladislav Tretiak, but he is not the most guilty party in San Jose's playoff flops.
His save percentage was .918 and .932 the last two second rounds (Vesa Toskala played in 2006's round two vs. Edmonton).
The Zetterburg Datsyuks in six games.
Champ Crosbys vs. Jarosaves
Is Jaroslav Halak set to lead the Habs on a Dwayne Roloson Oilers '06 type run to the Final? Betting against him right now might not be the way to go but here's some food for fodder.
The Habs are actually an 18th-placed team.
The only times a team lower than 16th-overall pulled off a first round upset, they subsequently lost in round two.
In 2002 the league MVP (he used to be good?) Jose Theodore helped the 18th-placed Habs (is this a pattern or what?) knock the East's number one seed Boston Bruins off in round one. They proceeded to lose to Arturs Irbe and the 16th-placed Carolina Hurricances in round two.
In 2009 the 17th-placed Anaheim Ducks of Orange County knocked off those Sharky Sharks in round one and lost in seven games in round two to Detroit.
In 1994 the 17th-placed San Jose Sharks upset the number one seed Red Wings and then lost in seven in round two vs. the Make Beliefs.
So let's get some perspective here. Halak was outstanding on a terrible team (face it, getting outshot 41 to 27 on average per 60 mins of play is not a sign of a competitive team...opportunistic maybe but the Halak won that series not the Montreal Habnadiens).
Even so you know Halak is going to give the Pens fits but I like the Pens' far more creative offensive skills over Alexnader Ovechkin's predictable "bomb down the wing, cut to the middle and try to fire a wrist shot through Hal Gill's legs" move.
Take the Pens in seven.
Tuuuuuukka vs. BouuuuuuucherIf these teams were healthy, this might be a terrific series. It still might be but both teams are running on fumes. Philly lucked out in round one getting a New Jersey team that they dominated in the regular season which carried over into the playoffs.
Boston's victory over the Sabres was probably the bigger upset given the B's injury woes and not having their playmaker Marc Savard.
I'm calling it a tie. No team wins. Neither advances. We just send the Pens straight to the Final.
Otherwise, can you imagine Boston of all teams in the Conference Finals? How is that possible?
I'm going to say, despite no Jeff Carter's shot, Ian Laperriere's face and whomever else the Flyers don't have, they do have Mike Richards and Chris Pronger (as well as the vastly underrated Alexandre Giroux and Kimmo Timonen).
Flyboys in five again.