How did I let this get by me...???

Not sure what I was thinking, but I never made any predictions on any of the NHL quarterfinals that are being played now. Since there is no point now, I will make these observations ...

1. RANGERS-DEVILS: I don't think this is so much a case of the Devils being that good -- which they are -- as the Rangers' special teams just being a complete horror show. Four and out for the Blueshirts, and deservedly so.

2. CANADIENS-HURRICANES: Given how he is playing, Cristobal Huet's No. 39 may be retired one day. Like at the end of the postseason. Carolina looks nothing like the legitimate Cup contender they puported to be.

3. SABRES-FLYERS: To Robert Esche and Antero Niittymaki -- you cannot give up hat tricks ... to two players ... IN THE SAME GAME. And to whoever takes the Islanders GM job in place of the outgoing Mike Milbury, look closely at J.P. Dumont. New York had him and Milbury gave him up for something named Dmitri Nabokov. Not Evgeni, but Dmitri.

4. SENATORS-LIGHTNING: Ottawa has a big lead in the third period. If they were to lose this game, they would be primed to lose this series.

5. OILERS-RED WINGS: Though the series is tied as it goes to Edmonton, the Red Wings are one thrown puck from boards in overtime away from being down 2-0 as they head to Rexall Place.

6. AVALANCHE-STARS: At first glance, this looks as of it could be the biggest upset of the first round, but if you look closer, I am willing to bet that Dallas goaltender Marty Turco will need some sort of surgery after the season. He has not played well consistently since January. Enjoy Colorado's Joe Sakic for as long as he plays.

7. DUCKS-FLAMES: Jean-Sebastien Giguere missed Game 1. The Ducks lost. He came back for Game 2. They won. Truly valuable. Calgary can challenge for the Cup, but someone needs to step up on offense.

8. SHARKS-PREDATORS: Jonathan Cheechoo is good. Really good. If San Jose keeps him and Joe Thornton, deals Evgeni Nabokov for a front-line defenseman, Lord Stanley will eventually reside in Northern California. Tomas Vokoun's blood clots has put a lot of pressure on Chris Mason, but through two games he seems to be playing well off it.

I promise, more for the semifinals!

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