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1. Boston Bruins vs. 6. Carolina Hurricanes

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Boston
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal: 4-0 vs. Montreal Canadiens

The Good:
A perfect penalty kill. I can’t say anything but good things about a team that can go four games without allowing a power play goal against.

The Bad:
Like Vancouver, Boston’s penalty minutes were weighted with misconducts, but regardless were still a hefty 18 mins per game.

The Ugly:
Blake Wheeler! Paging Blake Wheeler! Are you there, Blake Wheeler? No points. Diminished ice time. What happened?

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Carolina
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal: 4-3 vs. New Jersey Devils

The Good:
Clutch goalscoring. Jussi Jokinen, Eric Staal, and Ray Whitney were three of the top four forwards for Carolina in the first round in scoring. All three have game winners. Furthermore, within 80 seconds Jokinen scored that game tying goal that let Staal put away the series. The stars are aligned for Carolina.

The Bad:
Erik Cole. -2. No points. Seven games played, with an average ice time around 17 minutes a game. And to think I spent all that time in my playoff preview giving you massive props. Disappointing Erik, disappointing.

The Ugly:
6.9% efficiency on the power play. Wow. That just doesn’t look right. This was the team that won, right? Did we do the math wrong?

Prediction:
Carolina’s woeful power play and Boston’s perfect penalty kill makes me want to say this is Boston’s to lose. However, I think if they keep it five on five, Carolina’s magic might sneak them through in 6.

2. Washington Capitals vs. 4. Pittsburgh Penguins

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Washington
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal: 4-3 vs. New York Rangers

The Good:
Washington’s skill and offensive prowess finally came through after a shaky series start against New York. Yes, coach John Tortorella’s suspension (following game five) may have deflated New York’s sails, but ultimately what sunk the Blueshirts was the play of Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin, each with seven points. Oh, and maybe that guy Alexander Semin,  with his five goals and eight points. Not to mention Simeon Varlamov (who?) replacing Jose Theodore as the Capitals keeper, posting a 1.17 GAA and a .952SV% (both second best in the playoffs to Roberto Luongo). I guess he’s pretty good, too.

The Bad:

Viktor Kozlov (isn’t he usually on Ovechkin’s line????) had two assists.

The Ugly:
You can’t lose games on home ice. Ever. New York embarrassed Washington and I hope the crowd in D.C. has forgiven them, because the Caps can’t afford to head to Pittsburgh trailing after two games at home.
pittsburghpenguinsPittsburgh
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal: 4-2 vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Good:
Have you met Sidney? Mr. Crosby has eight points. His pal, Geno, or Evgeni Malkin, as the announcers call him, has nine. And the big surprise star of the series: Tyler Kennedy with two game winners. I’m thinking we need to watch him.

The Bad:
I don’t understand how a power play with Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, and any other two players isn’t better than 12.5%. Why you no score?

The Ugly:
Pascal Dupuis, Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz have exactly three points among them (Kunitz has two assists, Staal one). These are supposed to be secondary scorers. Matt Cooke, a checker, has two assists.

Prediction:

The real winners of this series: the fans. But, seriously, in what will be an entertaining series, I really believe that Washington (which beat Pittsburgh three times out of four in the regular season, the only loss in a shootout) and its erstwhile superstars (status to be confirmed later) will want this more. Washington in 6.

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