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Playoff Pick 'em: Canucks vs. Predators (Also: Ro-li!)

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I don't know if that was the best first round ever, but I do know this: Ro-li {clap-clap} Ro-li! {clap-clap} RO-LI! {clap-clap}. Seriously, having four Game 7s in two nights -- two going to overtime -- was rather grand. Even better was watching Dwayne Roloson lead the charge with a Game 7 shutout, and Sean Bergenheim scoring nearly identical critical goals in the final two games.

Just to add to the "Islanders South" stamp on the series that ended Maxim Talbot's season, Nate Thompson nearly cost the Lightning with a slashing penalty to give the Penguins a chance to force OT if only their powerplay could do such a thing. Goodness, what a finish. Now comes the hangover, the let down as we cut the number of series in half.

Van-slim_medium Nas-slim_medium
(1) Canucks vs. (5) Predators
History: Their first playoff meeting
Subtext: Preds just happy to be here. Canucks just happy to be alive.
Season Series: Two genuine regulation wins each
Obsessives: Nucks Misconduct | On the Forecheck

It's time for Round 2, which begins tonight. Make your picks in the poll and comments at the end of this post.

TV/Schedule

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

Two days off there between Games 2 and 3. But if this series goes into 5, 6 and 7, there will be no bonus days for the extra East-to-Pacific travel. Suck it up, that's what charter flights are for. Not so for peasants like us: I'll be flying to New Orleans via cattle call airlines, but those cramped flying conditions won't slow my pace at Jazzfest. Playoffs, baby. Finish your drinks checks.

TV Implications: Poor Versus. Like Anaheim-Nashville, this will be an exciting series that few casual fans will know to watch.

The Simple Overview

The Predators could go four and out and their fans would still consider this season a success: They made it past the first round. They finally got the thrill of clinching a series, on home ice no less. Except the playoffs are a drug: Once you've got a taste of victory, you want more and more. The glory of ousting the Ducks can be forgotten in a mere week.

Do the Preds have a chance? Yes. They're a wonderfully balanced team, as they showed while disposing of top-heavy Anaheim. Individual slumps and depth hits do not derail them. Mike Fisher has delivered what they hoped. (And interestingly, he now faces his doppelgänger Ryan Kesler or attempts to shut down the Sedins in a best-of-seven.)

The Canucks-Blackhawks series showed us how closely these things can turn: A #1 seed can outplay a #8 seed in two elimination games but still need luck and OT in Game 7 to avoid disaster.

Speaking of the Hawks, the Canucks have exorcised those demons. They have game-breaking stars that the Preds do not. If Roberto Luongo is Good Luongo and not Headcase Luongo, they could win four close games in just five tries.

Head Says: Canucks in six.

Heart Says: I feel nothing toward these teams, so...go seven games! With lots of OT! Keep Semi_Colon alive!

Your Picks in the Last Round: Most of you picked the Canucks to win, the highest (40%) picking them over the Hawks in six. | In the other series that created this one, 75% of you picked Preds over Ducks (25% correctly nailing it in six), so cheers to you.

What'll it be this time?