Whew. On to the second round.
After the dismissal of the President's Trophy winner and two razor-close Game 7 showdowns in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins
are the new owners of home ice advantage throughout the playoffs--as long they are in contention for hockey's coveted Stanley Cup. Boston will face the Carolina Hurricanes
, who pulled an improbable 4-3 last-minute win in a Game 7 Tuesday night at New Jersey.
The other Eastern matchup will feature 2008 Stanley Cup finalist Pittsburgh opening on the road against the Washington Capitals
, who pulled out their own 2-1 Game 7 heart-stopper Tuesday.
The matchups in the Western Conference were set Monday night after the No. 8 Anaheim Ducks
closed out intrastate rival and top seed San Jose in six, and Chicago's young Blackhawks did the same six-and-out number on the Flames at the Saddledome. Anaheim travels to Detroit to open its second-round series in a battle of the last two Stanley Cup championship teams, while Chicago travels to Vancouver to open its conference semifinal series.