With the conclusion of the regular season last night, the playoff matchups are set. Upon first glance, my reaction in the East is that each of the 4 series could conceivably see the lower ranked team winning the set. I am not saying that I think it will happen, but in each case there is the potential for it.
Senshot will have an in-depth series by series look later in the week, but Ottawa plays New York very well, ditto Washington against Boston. New Jersey over Florida would hardly be considered an upset if it were to happen based on the points in the standings, while Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will be a coin flip, and despite the Penguins having home ice they could fall prey to a very talented Pittsburgh squad.
In the West, my first instinct is that the matchups are such that they should go much closer to form. Teams are very tight, but the higher seeded team seems to have an advantage in each series, save for the 4-5 matchup, where Detroit (the 5 seed) and Nashville are pretty evenly matched and should be a great series.
The marathon is over and 14 teams have seen their dreams end. Sixteen teams are left in the chase and it all starts over again. The first team to 16 wins takes the Cup and all the spoils. The other 15 teams will shave those playoff beards out of sadness and despair along the way.