Boston (1) defeats Montreal (8), 4-0
This was a mismatch from the start. Although it would have been nice for the Canadiens to play deep into the postseason in their historic 100th season, the Bruins were the overwhelmingly superior team. Wednesday night's 4-1 drubbing sealed Boston's first trip to the Conference Semifinals in 10 years.
Washington (2) vs. N.Y. Rangers (7), 1-3
Last night's 2-1 nail-biter at Madison Square Garden extended the Rangers' series lead, three games to one. New York has relied on the stellar play of Henrik Lundqvist thus far, and need to win just one of the next three games to upset the Capitals. Lundqvist will carry the Rangers into the semifinals.
New Jersey (3) vs. Carolina (6), 2-2
This series has been the most intense, entertaining matchup of the playoffs thus far - even before the miraculous ending to Game Four, when Carolina's goal with 0.2 seconds left gave them a 4-3 victory. Expect this thrilling see-saw battle to go the full seven games.
Pittsburgh (4) vs. Philadelphia (5), 3-1
After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals last year, the Penguins are playing their best hockey of the season at just the right time in their Keystone State battle. Marc-Andre Fleury has elevated his level of play - he made 45 saves in Tuesday's win over the Flyers - and will be a key influence on the Pens' playoff success.
San Jose (1) vs. Anaheim (8), 1-2
In perhaps the most unlikely first-round results, the Sharks find themselves trailing the lowly Anaheim Ducks in what was expected to be a cakewalk. San Jose, which finished the regular season as the NHL's top team, had to claw its way to a 4-3 win in Game Three just to cut its series deficit. At this point, the Ducks have a strong chance of pulling off the upset and sending the Sharks home.
Detroit (2) vs. Columbus (7), 3-0
Columbus has looked every part the "happy-to-be-here" team in their series against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings. Expect Detroit to finish the job tonight and immediately look ahead to the next round.
Vancouver (3) defeats St. Louis (6), 4-0
The Blues have a case of their namesake after being dispatched by Roberto Luongo and the Canucks. St. Louis could only manage a paltry five goals total thanks to Luongo's fantastic play in net. If his phenomenal goaltending continues, the Canucks could ride him all the way to the Finals.
Chicago (4) vs. Calgary (5), 2-1
This season was a renaissance for the Blackhawks, who put their past putridity aside to become a playoff powerhouse. Unfortunately for Chicago, their draw for the quarterfinals was the Flames, renowned for their rabid fans and raucous playoff crowds. Calgary's huge home-ice advantage might come into play during this series, but it won't be enough to deny Patrick Kane and Chicago a long-awaited playoff run.