With six of the eight first round series going at least 6 games and four going 7, one would expect the NHL 2nd round to continue the drama.  Thus far, it has been quite the opposite.  Three series have gone 3-0, including the Lightning sweeping the Capitals last night.

The only series that definitely won’t be a sweep is Vancouver vs. Nashville.  The Canucks hold a 2 games to one advantage heading into tonight’s matchup at Bridgestone Arena.  The second round potentially can end only nine days after it began, compared to the first round’s fifteen day schedule.

Common sense would lead one to believe that rested team has an advantage over a team who played more games in the first round.  In fact, no team who has played a first round game 7 has won the Stanley Cup since the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins.  Unfortunately for Washington and Detroit, resting after their quick first round series hasn’t helped.

The three teams who are (or were) down 0-3, all got there differently.  Washington was outskated by Tampa.  The question mark for the Capitals, defense, loomed large in the series, and some of their big guns (Backstrom, Semin) were invisible.  The 4th straight early exit for Washington may spell the end of coach Bruce Boudreau.

The Flyers failed to show up in two games.  Obviously the goalie carousel has played a huge part, but effort has also been a main problem.  Philly has struggled with the problem for most of the second half.  Can the Flyers pull another miracle like they did last year against Boston?  Not with their current play.

Detroit hasn’t looked bad.  In fact, all three games have been one goal games, with two won by the Sharks in overtime.  A couple bounces the other way, and Detroit could be leading this series.  The Red Wings are still a scary playoff team though, and the Sharks would be best advised to put Detroit away as soon as they can.

However, the second round hasn’t been completely lacking drama, as six games have gone to overtime so far.

1995 was the last time four game 7s happened in the first round, and eerily, was the last year that three teams were swept in the second round.  Except in that year, the teams who played shorter series in the first round easily dispatched their opponents in the second.

Hopefully one of these teams can give their opponents a run for their money, or at the very least, we get an exciting final three series.


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