Who would've thought that with two number goaltenders, the Vancouver Canucks would lose to the LA Kings in the first round? San Jose 'choked' again, Chicago fell short to a very good team that could be moved in the next few months and Nashville proved, at least to me, that they are a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. Now, onto round two!
4) Nashville vs. 7) Phoenix
This could be an interesting series... it could be a sweep or could go seven depending on goaltending. Rinne's been one of the few goalies that I've seen lately to come up huge when the time comes and Smith's been damned good as well. With Nashville's defensive core (Suter and Weber) possibly not being there after the Cup finals, I think that Nashville's 'win now' attitude comes out in the second round and Phoenix (or Quebec or Seattle etc.) while on a decent run and eliminating Chicago, will fall in six games. There's only so much Smith can handle in a series and Chicago (five overtime games in six) gave him a lot to handle at times.
Nashville in six.
2) St. Louis vs. 8) Los Angeles
Los Angeles upended the President's Trophy winner in six games this year... thanks to Philadelphia and Edmonton. Carter and Richards came up big when they needed to and Stoll (a former Oiler) and Penner scored when they needed to as well. If it wasn't for Hamhuis NOT clearing the puck in overtime as he probably should have, this series would've went another game. Quick has quickly become a true number one guy and one of my faves as well... he should be able to handle the upstart Blues in seven.
Los Angeles in seven.