Pens/Caps (aka the PaperMate series (thanks, @voteforgrant!): OVIE/CROSBY. I think the NHL media outlets collectively wet themselves when the Hurricanes came back to win over the Devils, thus solidifying that matchup. Is it exciting? Yes. Is it the most exciting Round 2 matchup? No. (Okay, maybe. You didn't hear that from me, though.) Am I excited to see Varlamov take on Marc-Andre Fleury? VERY.
My pick: Caps in 6. (This means I need to figure out two days to pick the Pens, or just go with the Caps every day and get a few wrong. Hmm.)
B's/Canes (aka the series formerly known as the Battle of New England): This Team Used to Be the Whalers. Let's lay out every statistic relevant to the Hartford Whalers that we can find! Okay, that's a little silly. I love calling them the Whalercanes as much as the next guy, but can we focus on the current team and how our team will match up against them? Granted the B's swept the season series, but since the Bruins last saw the
My pick: Bruins in 5.
Red Wings/Ducks (aka the Disney Movie series:) The Ducks/Red Wings angle is all about the wee upsetters vs. the Hockey Machine. Somebody needs to tell the Ducks that the Red Wings are not the same team as the Sharks. The Sharks' black-hole level playoff collapses don't happen to the Detroit Red Wings; additionally, the drive to defend their Stanley Cup means that their momentum from round one probably won't change.
My pick: Red Wings in 5.
Blackhawks/Canucks (aka the Mystery series:) The angle here is OMG the Blackhawks made it past the first round, Chi-town has a hockey team again, SO WHAT NOW? And really, it's true; this series is a big fat question mark. The Canucks feel comparable to the Flames, to me; true, they swept the Blues, but that's different from playing a team two seeds higher. The only weakness I can see here is Chicago having taken their first round to 6 games versus Vancouver's sweep-in-four and week off from rest; however, I don't know if that will make Vancouver weak from rust, or Chicago weak from fatigue? This series is truly an enigma - if the series goes to seven games, or Vancouver sweeps, or Chicago takes it in 6, I wouldn't be surprised - this is a series where truly, anything could happen. Really all I can say is thank goodness the first game of this series is tonight!
My pick: Blackhawks in 7 (but actually a big ????)