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One of the best opening rounds in Stanley Cup Playoffs history is complete. Here are some preliminary thoughts about Round 2, with formal picks coming on Thursday.

Which series are you most looking forward to?

Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs. Boston Bruins (3)

Saturday, April 30 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. NBC, CBC
Monday, May 2 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
Wednesday, May 4 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC
Friday, May 6 at Boston, 8:00 p.m. VERSUS (JIP), CBC
*Sunday, May 8 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. NBC, CBC
*Tuesday, May 10 at Boston, TBD VERSUS, CBC
*Thursday, May 12 at Philadelphia, TBD VERSUS, CBC

The Flyers somehow overcame their goaltending deficiencies to win in seven games; the Bruins overcame their own self-inflicted problems to survive a Montreal scare in seven games.

Does the psychological damage from the Flyers' rally last season have an effect on this series? Not unless the scenario plays out again.

Special teams are huge here, as the Flyers' kill was underwhelming while the Bruins power play was putrid. No forward on the Bruins has looked as good as Danny Briere(notes) or Claude Giroux(notes) have in these playoffs; the B's need to be a hell of a lot tighter defensively against Philly.

Leaning Towards … My pick out of the East was the Bruins, but the Flyers have looked damn impressive at times — and Pronger's only going to get healthier. So I'm leaning Philly.

Washington Capitals (1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)

Friday, April 29 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, May 1 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC
Tuesday, May 3 at Tampa Bay, TBD VERSUS, TSN
Wednesday, May 4 at Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m. TSN
*Saturday, May 7 at Washington, 12:30 p.m. NBC, TSN
*Monday, May 9 at Tampa Bay, TBD VERSUS, TSN
*Wednesday, May 11 at Washington, TBD VERSUS, TSN

The Capitals were 4-1-1 against their division rivals, with one of those wins coming in the shootout.

The Rangers didn't really test the "new" Capitals defensive dogma. They didn't have the weaponry. The Lightning do, and they're also much more dangerous on the power play, which is another test. But the Capitals looked like a deep, focused team in Round 1; if Michal Neuvirth(notes) could match Henrik Lundqvist(notes), he can match Dwayne Roloson(notes).

Leaning Towards … The Capitals, who have to like the fact they're avoiding the Habs and the Penguins for Round 2.

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Nashville Predators (5)

Thursday, April 28 at Vancouver, 9:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS
Saturday, April 30 at Vancouver, 9:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS
Tuesday, May 3 at Nashville, TBD CBC, VERSUS
Thursday, May 5 at Nashville, TBD CBC, VERSUS
*Saturday, May 7 at Vancouver, 8:00 p.m. CBC, VERSUS
*Monday, May 9 at Nashville, TBD CBC, VERSUS
*Wednesday, May 11 at Vancouver, TBD CBC, VERSUS

Conventional wisdom is that the Nucks will be gassed for Game 1, having celebrated their win against the Chicago Blackhawks like they won the Stanley Cup, a gold medal and the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes all in the same night. But the Thursday night start for this series should mean that the momentum carries over into Game 1, the weight of two crushing playoff defeats (and nearly a third) lifted off their backs.

The key to the series is Pekka Rinne(notes). He was ordinary against the Ducks, but it didn't matter when there were seven different players with two or more goals for the Preds. He needs to steal a couple here, and Nashville has to make these games uglier than a 400-pound transvestite.

Leaning Towards … The Canucks. Should be a rollicking good time in Nashville for these games, but Vancouver advances.

San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Detroit Red Wings (3)

Friday, April 29 at San Jose, 10:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, May 1 at San Jose, 3:00 p.m. NBC, TSN
Wednesday, May 4 at Detroit, 8:00 p.m. VERSUS (JIP), TSN
Friday, May 6 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Sunday, May 8 at San Jose, 8:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Tuesday, May 10 at Detroit, TBD VERSUS, TSN
*Thursday, May 12 at San Jose, TBD VERSUS, TSN

The first real indication that the Sharks were shedding the choker label was last spring, when they built a 3-0 lead on the Red Wings in the conference semifinals, got their asses handed to them in Game 4, but still managed to close out the series in Game 5. Now, that maturation as a contender has continued, to the point where Joe Thornton(notes) — Joe Thornton! — is scoring clutch, series-winning goals.

But while the Sharks are learning to be a champion, the majority of this Red Wings roster has been one. They dispatched the Phoenix Coyotes with an assassin's resolve. They'll be rested. They'll be healthy. They'll be ready.

Leaning Towards … The Sharks. Niemi and Howard are a wash, and San Jose has more quality depth at forward than Detroit. This is a different Sharks team; dare I say a special one?

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