Note: We will be previewing the second-round series in the Western Conference today. The Detroit-Anaheim preview will appear at approximately noon. Our Eastern Conference previews will be available tomorrow.
(3) Canucks vs. (4) Blackhawks
Canucks Leading Playoff Scorer: Daniel Sedin, five points (two goals, three assists).
Blackhawks Leading Playoff Scorer: Kris Versteeg, seven points (two goals, five assists).
Canucks with Stanley Cup bling: None.
Blackhawks with Stanley Cup bling: Nikolai Khabibulin, Andrew Ladd, Sammy Pahlsson.
Something worthwhile about the Canucks: At a success rate of 52.6 percent, the Canucks have the best faceoff-winning percentage in the Western Conference playoffs.
Something worthwhile about the Blackhawks: Chicago has the second-best power-play in the playoffs after Detroit at 29.2 percent.
Something useless about the Canucks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The first three players of the Canucks' 1990 draft class, Petr Nedved, Shawn Antoski and Jiri Slegr, all played for the Penguins at one time or another.
Something useless about the Blackhawks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins forward Troy Murray (1986) is one of two players to have won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the Blackhawks. The other is Dirk Graham (1991).
Former Penguins on the Canucks: None.
Former Penguins on the Blackhawks: Marc Bergevin, assistant coach; Scotty Bowman, senior advisor, hockey operations; Dale Tallon, general manager.
Who needs to be the difference for the Canucks: Roberto Luongo (right, above). This team goes as far as he goes. Even though the Canucks, swept the Blues in the first round, three of the games were air-tight, one-goal wins. The Canucks beat the Blues because they had the better goaltender. Luongo will have to better than Nikolai Khabibulin (right) in order for Vancouver to win this series.
Who needs to be the difference for the Blackhawks: Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Adam Burish, Samuel Pahlsson. The Blackhawks were able to deal with the physical Flames with some grit of their own. They'll need to get physical with the somewhat brittle Canucks in order to nullify Vancouver's offense.
Best Canucks YouTube Video We Could Find: Following a perceived series of slights from the officials during a 1982 playoff series against the Blackhawks, Canucks coach Roger Nielsen began to wave a white "flag" of surrender:
Best Blackhawks YouTube Video We Could Find: Here come the Hawks. The mighty Blackhawks:
EN Prediction: Canucks 4-2. It's a little cliched, but we're firm believers in the best goaltender always giving you the best chance of winning a series. Luongo is clearly the best goaltender in this series. If Luongo can shut the door on the Blackhawks the way he did against the Blues, this is Vancouver's series.
(Photos: Luongo-Nick Didlick/Getty Images; Khabibulin-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)