Up Next

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It took until the final minute of the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs but the Boston Bruins finally found out who their second round opponent would be.

An improbable, dramatic, flat out amazing comeback win for the Carolina Hurricanes over the New Jersey Devils in game seven of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series earned them a trip to Boston for Friday night’s opener at TD Banknorth Garden. Eric Staal scored the stunning game winner with just 32 seconds left on the clock in the third period, less than a minute after Jussi Jokinen had tied the game at 3 to silence the Devils and their fans, who surely thought they had the game won at that point. Not the case and the ‘Canes move onward.

There is a certain amount of playoff history between the Carolina team and the Bruins, though it is not as obvious as that between them and the Canadiens, nor nearly as sexy as that or some other potential match-ups for the Bruins. We’ll delve into those stories as the series evolves but, regardless of rivalry and intrigue, these are two very good hockey teams about to clash here. Carolina played brilliant hockey down the stretch and into the post-season and has just succeeded in knocking off an extremely dangerous New Jersey team who had home ice advantage over them.

They simply cannot be taken lightly. Nor will they be by Claude Julien and company. It’s been his job to keep the team on it’s toes in the week long layoff after sweeping the Habs and one can only hope that the same drive and focus will remain as potent as it was when the puck drops on Friday.

I, for one, cannot fucking wait.

The other second round series we have to look forward to are as follows:

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks starting Thursday night in Vancouver. The ‘Nucks have home ice in this one but, then, so did the Flames and a white out might be no better than a red storm when it comes to stopping these Hawks. They’re too young, brash and talented to care, I think. Prediction: Chicago in 5.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks starting friday night in Detroit. I want to pick this one for my upset of the seond round but I wonder if my desire to see the Wings fail is clouding my vision a bit. They are a dominating hockey team, no doubt, deep and skilled and experienced. Chris Osgood, however, could still be the weak link and the Ducks have some serious mojo going. Prediction: Okay, fuck it. Anaheim in 7.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals starting Saturday in Washington. Call me a hater but I’m already sick of this series and it hasn’t even started. I know, I know, it’s the Superstar Match-Up we’ve all been waiting to see, and the NHL will keep shoving that notion down our throats for the next two weeks, don’t worry. Ovechkin vs. Crosby, the Young Guns Series. All that flashy, high powered offense is fine, of course, but winning in the playoffs still takes a little someting called defense and it remains to be seen which team has the commitment to do so. My hunch is it will be the Pens. Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6. But don’t bet the farm on it, by any means.

It’s all going be interesting no matter what happens, so stay tuned, true believers. The fun is just beginning.

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2 Responses to “Up Next”

  1. Emily Says:

    The Ducks and the Red Wings always play really great hockey whenever they meet up, even during the regular season. It’s downright intense during the playoffs. I hope your prediction is right, if only because it was so fuckle-doodle-do hilarious to watch Detroit fans have complete meltdowns over the loss back in 2007.

    As Don Cherry says, keep your heads up, Detroit. The Ducks are coming and they’re bringing Chris Pronger’s elbows with them.

  2. Gonz Says:

    It is so rare to see an ending like what we say in New Jersey last night. That place went from a party to a wake. Heartbreaking. The Devils completely Redhawked.

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