Two of the top three seeds in the East are done, out of the playoffs, joining the Maple Leafs on the golf course. The Washington Capitals, the top seed in the entire NHL, are going to game 7 with the Montreal Canadiens, who had the worst regular season record of any playoff team. Sidney Crosby had to play like he was Jeremy Roenick in NHL '94 to get the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Ottawa Senators in 6 games.
What in the world is happening?
The bottom four teams in the Eastern Conference stumbled into the playoffs, each sporting records that would have sent them to an early off-season in the West. The foregone conclusion was that the top 4 seeds would move on fairly handily, with room for one upset, maybe.
Martin "Hermano" Brodeur was out-goaltended by Brian "The Mighty Boosh" Boucher. The much heralded trade deadline acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk was a bust and the rest of the Devils looked old and tired.
The Buffalo Sabres wasted what was a decent playoff performance for Ryan Miller with their inability to score. Thomas Vanek managed a point per game pace, but only played in half of the series. Derek Roy and Tim Connolly were nowhere to be found, with not a single goal between them. For a team that struggled for offence throughout the regular season, they couldn't afford to have their two top scorers to be held without a goal.
The Capitals, with the most potent offence in the league and the record to match it, ran into Jaroslav "The Client" Halak, while Michael Cammalleri has outscored Alex Ovechkin and has the same number of points as Backstrom and Semin combined. Of course, Semin only has 1 assist in the entire series, choosing the most inopportune time to disappear. Unless the Capitals offence can solve Halak on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be facing the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, a prospect that just a couple weeks ago would have seemed laughable. But with the way the first round has progressed, anything is possible.
On a lighter note, this image that is currently on the front page of the Montreal Canadiens website is one of the worst photoshop jobs I've seen in a while. That's a weird looking Andrei Markov. Reminds me of Laser Portraits.