Today we'll take a look at the Eastern Conference matchups, with the Western Conference following tomorrow. Remember, as per the official rules of playoff predictions, we all agree to never speak of these again once the first round is over.
#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa SenatorsThe matchup: In a nice change of pace, the Senators have decided it might be fun to suffer a crushing playoff defeat to a different original six team.
The view from New York: Henrik Lundqvist says his injured forearm has healed enough for him to play, he supposes, since every time the team doctor shows him an "x-ray" it's actually just a picture of Martin Biron inside a circle with a line through it.
The view from Ottawa: The Senators have to be considered spoilers, assuming we're talking about all the great Senators vs. Bruins jokes I had written for this preview a week ago.
Player to watch: Erik Karlsson will try to continue racking up the points with his impressive offensive instincts despite being a squishy wet stain on the end boards after Brian Boyle's first shift.
Prediction: Two straight weeks of facing John Tortorella in the playoffs has Senator fans longing for the calm, even-tempered days of Pat Quinn.
#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington CapitalsThe matchup: This series will feature a Bruins team that keeps talking about being the defending champions and pointing up at a banner that mentions some sort of weird trophy we've never seen before, according to confused Capitals players.
The view from Boston: Milan Lucic has been running at starting goaltenders all season long, and was deeply disappointed to find out that the Capitals currently don't have one.
The view from Washington: After breaking down videotape of the Bruins' seemingly endless parade of cheap shots and flagrant attempts to injure opponents, Dale Hunter has asked whether there's any chance he could be allowed to coach them instead.
Player to watch: Alexander Ovechkin will try to use his speed to stay out of the reach of Zdeno Chara, which gives him about eight square feet of ice surface to work with.
Prediction: The series sets a ratings record with viewership in the tens of millions, assuming everyone who makes a "Tim Thomas at the White House" joke over the next few days decides to tunes in.
#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey DevilsThe matchup: In an unfortunate break for Panther fans, they get a matchup with a team full of guys who live in New Jersey and won't find it distracting to be surrounded by rats.
The view from Florida: The Panthers will plan to continue to exploit the secret to their stunning regular season success, just as soon as they figure out how to get a bonus point for losing overtime games in the playoffs
The view from New Jersey: Devils coach Peter DeBoer will be facing the team that fired him after last season, he says, and everyone who hasn't paid attention to the Panthers in years agrees to just take his word for it.
Player to watch: Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore had an excellent year after signing a cheap free agent deal in the offseason, according to the conversation your Maple Leaf fan friend is currently having with an empty bottle of scotch.
Prediction: You make this your "upset special" in the office pool, and so does everyone else in the office.
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia FlyersThe matchup: There may be some bad blood between the teams right now but that won't be the case by the end of the series, experts say, since by then most of that blood will be all over the ice, boards and ceiling.
The view from Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have developed a well-deserved reputation for being whiny, since they're always saying things like "my arms hurt from celebrating goals on every second shift".
The view from Philadelphia: Assistant coach Craig Berube recently criticized the Penguins for being dirty players, according to the guy standing near the smoldering remains of the Irony-Meter.
Player to watch: Ilya Bryzgalov had a reputation for poor playoff performances in Phoenix but Flyers officials say they're confident he'll find it much easier to succeed now that he's under less pressure in Philadelphia, before pausing and admitting that that sounded a lot better in their heads.
Prediction: After watching several games of this violent rivalry, Matt Cooke can no longer contain the urge to gnaw through the ropes, escape the padded room Mario Lemieux had him locked in, tackle the semi-lifelike android that took his spot in the lineup in training camp, hurdle onto the ice and start elbowing craniums.