The West was won long before the East was decided. This is why Nashville (who had been sitting a week) and Phoenix were out of the gate first in round two.
Is it any surprise that the game went to overtime? If you are playing against Phoenix, better get your cardio and endurance up because 60 minutes are not enough to decide things.
Seeing as the East had to go the distance in not one, not two, but three series, they only get a day between games.
The Washington Capitals managed to prevail over the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins. The Bruins can lick their wounds in the off season with the Vancouver Canucks. The runners up were offed a lot quicker than the Bruins.
If Ottawa had upset the Rangers, it would have meant that both #1 seeds were sent packing in the first round. Instead, the New York Rangers held on to defeat the Ottawa Senators. The Rangers win ensured that all three Vezina trophy finalists are in the next round. For the Senators, they continue to be the bridesmaid and never the bride. This might have been Daniel Alfredsson’s final game as well, one of the few players to spend his entire career with the same team.
The Rangers will meet the upstart Capitals in round two. The Rangers might have Henrik Lundqvist, but the Capitals have a young kid in net, Braden Holtby. The 22 year old rookie has held his own and been the reason his Capitals are moving on to the next round. Holtby and the Capitals will be no less challenged in this round.
If Ottawa sent the Rangers to a game 7, Washington has an equal chance of doing so. If Holtby remains strong, they could send the Rangers home. This one could go either way.
The New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers series was the last to finish. They did not want things to end, it took until a second overtime for the Devils to move on and the Panthers to be sent packing. You have to feel for the Panthers, who have not won a playoff series in over a decade. They have not even made it into the playoffs in nearly as long, but were able to win their division this year.
Instead, the Devils experience and patience means they are going to face the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers had the longest rest of all the Eastern teams. The Flyers have questionable goaltending, but they have offense to make up for a swiss cheese goaltender. Martin Brodeur is not swiss cheese, but he is also not a youngster any more. This one could be a higher scoring series than New Jersey is comfortable with and I give a slight edge to the Flyers in six games.
The nicest part of the playoffs is you get to see every game. The down side is there are half as many series in the second round.
If the second round is as good as the first, they will all be worth watching!