While most are looking towards the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which are set to kickoff in less then 24 hours, some of the wounds and story-lines from the first wound are still very fresh. The first round of the playoffs had upsets, dramatics, heroics and even a sweep. Here is a quick look at some of the chaos that unfolded through the first 44 games of this year's post season dance.
- The Vancouver Canucks still can not win when in it counts, they could not even win a game this year and wear swept and eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in just four games. After another disappointing outcome for the Canucks, we may have seen the end of Alain Vigneault or Mike Gillis' time with Vancouver.
- By the Sharks and Los Angeles Kings advancing to the next round they set up an all California series, and guaranteed a California club in the Conference Finals for the eighth time in the last ten years.
- Speaking of the Kings, they swept the St. Louis Blues for a second straight year. Well it wasn't exactly a sweep but they won four straight games after falling behind in the series 0-2 to win the series.
- The Anaheim Ducks are the California team left on the outside looking in, after squandering a 3-2 series lead and losing game seven on home ice. On the other hand the Red Wings aren't looking too bad now are they? Nick Lidstrom who?
- The Chicago Blackhawks continued to be, well, the Chicago Blackhawks, dismantling a banged up Minnesota Wild and scoring 17 goals in just five games. Wow.
- Out east, the Pittsburgh Penguins were exposed by the resilient New York Islanders who forced the Penguins to go with back-up goalie Tomas Vokoun in games five and six. Despite the valiant effort, the Islanders were eliminated in overtime of game six, but a huge step in the right direction.
- The series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators lived up to everything a series between the Canadiens and Senators should be, fast paced, high scoring and exciting. Unfortunately, for the Canadiens, almost all of that came from the Senators.
- After failing to close out the series on home ice, the Washington Capitals were eliminated by the New York Rangers in embarrassing fashion, a 5-0 loss on home ice. Capitals team captain Alex Ovechkin, even through a little bit of the someone wanted a game seven conspiracy out there after being eliminated.
- Oh to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, the heartbreak, the misery. The Leafs faithful had a birth into the second round of the playoffs in their sights, then the Boston Bruins score two goals with under two-minutes remaining in regulation before eliminating the Leafs in overtime.
Now, with the first round in the rear view mirror, the field has been narrowed and only eight teams remain. Out west, the Kings and Sharks meet in a battle of the I-5 and the Red Wings and Blackhawks find themselves in a battle of Original Six franchises. On the east coast, the second Original Six matchup features the Bruins and Rangers, and the youngsters from the Penguins and Senators are set to duke it out.
Let's hope this round is just as entertaining as the first.