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Well, here we are. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin and the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals. And massive hockey blogosphere flame wars are ... go!

I've been fond of saying this will be the NHL's biggest crossover series since the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals back in 1994. What happens between these two bitter rivals will determine if it reaches that level of hype. But the rest of the sports world will take notice. The attention will be global. SportsCenter will lead with hockey for a semifinal series. It's a seminal moment in the NHL's post-lockout history, beginning on Thursday night (so we hear). Game 1 will be on Saturday.

Bragging rights doesn't even begin to describe what's on the line here.

After the jump, the full playoff schedule for the second round. Get ready for Penguins/Capitals on back-to-back nights.

From the NHL:

SERIES I #1 Boston vs. #6 Carolina                
Friday, May 1, 2009 Carolina at Boston                        
Sunday, May 3, 2009 Carolina at Boston                        
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Boston at Carolina                        
Friday, May 8, 2009 Boston at Carolina                        
*Sunday, May 10, 2009 Carolina at Boston                        
*Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Boston at Carolina                        
*Thursday, May 14, 2009 Carolina at Boston                        

SERIES J  #2 Washington vs. #4 Pittsburgh                
Saturday, May 2, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington                        
Monday, May 4, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington                        
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh                        
Friday, May 8, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh                        
*Saturday, May 9, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington                        
*Monday, May 11, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh                        
*Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington                        

SERIES K #2 Detroit vs. #8 Anaheim                                
Friday, May 1, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit                
Sunday, May 3, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit                
Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Detroit at Anaheim                        
Thursday, May 7, 2009 Detroit at Anaheim                        
*Sunday, May 10, 2009  Anaheim at Detroit                        
*Tuesday, May 12, 2009  Detroit at Anaheim                        
*Thursday, May 14, 2009  Anaheim at Detroit                        

SERIES L #3 Vancouver vs. #4 Chicago                        
Thursday, April 30, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver                        
Saturday, May 2, 2009  Chicago at Vancouver                        
Tuesday, May 5, 2009  Vancouver at Chicago                        
Thursday, May 7, 2009 Vancouver at Chicago                        
*Saturday, May 9, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver                        
*Monday, May 11, 2009  Vancouver at Chicago                        
*Thursday, May 14, 2009  Chicago at Vancouver                        

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