So what can we look forward to in the playoffs? Here are a few questions for the postseason. We can't wait to find out what the answers are. The NHL had to clarify its unsportmanlike conduct rule after Avery's run-in with Martin Brodeur during last year's playoffs. Then there was the "sloppy seconds" incident with the Stars that led to Sean's return to New York. Sure, it would be nice to see that Avery is truly changing his bad boy ways, but we kind of hope Scrappy Sean shows up in the playoffs. Jenny Reisinger Cohen
Best first-round matchup?
Hands down it's the Flyers and the Penguins. The in-state rivalry is always a good one to watch in the regular season, but the playoffs? In the first round? There's no way this one can be anything but a tough fight between two strong teams and two strong fan bases.
Who made the best pre-playoff trade?
There wasn't as much activity on the trade deadline as some expected, but that doesn't mean it was a total bust. The Flames picked up Olli Jokinen, a strong addition to the team, and in the East, the Rangers added a few new faces, including Nik Antropov from Toronto.
Which Original Six team should you watch?
Five of the Original Six made the the playoffs sorry, Maple Leafs so hockey purists are happy. Our favorites to watch are the Eastern Conference champion Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings. And while we're happy the Canadiens made it in during their centennial season, we don't think they'll get too far.
Who will win the Stanley Cup?
We think this has an easy answer: The Cup is staying in the West. But where the next Stanley Cup parade will be is a tougher question. Sure, the East has the Bruins and Alex Ovechkin's Capitals, but both of those teams will have their hands full with the Western Conference champion Sharks or Stanley's current owner, the Red Wings.
Who will be the big breakout star?
It's all about the young guys this year, especially the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. They have high expectations to live up to, but both proved up to the challenge. And in Columbus, Rick Nash and Steve Mason have been important to the Blue Jackets' first playoff berth in team history.
Which goalie will shine?
This has been the season of the goalie and the playoffs look to be more of the same. Veteran Martin Brodeur had an amazing comeback after months on the disabled list while the Blue Jackets' Steve Mason is being talked about for rookie of the year. Of course we can't forget the breakout performances of the Bruins' Tim Thomas and backup Manny Fernandez.
Which Penguins will show up?
It was a tale of two teams with the Penguins this season. First there was talk the defending Eastern Conference champs wouldn't even make the playoffs. Then rookie coach Dan Bylsma took over late in the season and the Penguins caught fire. So will we see the the struggling Pens or the shining Pens this postseason?