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Swedish Superstars Headline NHL Playoffs Second Round Matchups

The second round of the NHL Playoffs kicked off yesterday with Henrik and Daniel Sedin's Vancouver Canucks opening their series against the Nashville Predators with a 1 - 0 win in Game 1 to take an early lead in their Western Conference Semi-Final Series.

Daniel had a productive first series against the Chicago Blackhawks, with 7 points in 7 games, 5 of those being goals, while his brother Henrik struggled offensively through the series with only 5 assists. After taking a Game 1 lead, the Sedins are expected to regain their form offensively, especially on the Vancouver power play which was ranked #1 throughout the league in the regular season. The twins are now playing with Mikael Samuelsson, who played his best hockey in last year's postseason when he was on the Canucks number one line, which is reason for optimism if you are expecting Henrik and Daniel to lead their team to the Western Conference Final.

Elsewhere, Henrik Zetterberg will finally make his return to the Red Wings lineup tonight, his knee injury kept him out of the entire first round series with the Pheonix Coyotes, but with Zetterberg coming back and the way the Red Wings looked in the opening round - expect his return to be a big boost for Detroit as they should go on to win this series, especially if they can get to San Jose netminder, Antti Niemi early.

Johan Franzen is also expected to play in Game 1, despite also being banged up in the series against Pheonix, he had 3 points in 4 games against the Coyotes and just adds even more talent and depth to an already dangerous roster for the Red Wings. The Sharks are no push over, this has the makings of a long series, especially since the Sharks played the Red Wings tough all year. The series will come down to goaltending for the Sharks and how Antti Niemi is able to deal with all of the talent up front for Detroit, especially on their powerplay, with Niklas Lidstrom and Valtteri Filppula also figuring into the mix.

Expect the Red Wings depth and skill to overcome the Sharks in a 6 or 7 game series.Superstars that will need better performances, that is the story for the Washington Capitals Niklas Backstrom, the talented center did not create enough offense for his team in their opening round series against the New York Rangers, he will need to be better against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as this series could be filled with goals. Tampa Bay's offensive talent is about as top end as it gets. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis form one of the most formidable offensive duos in the National Hockey League, this group will score goals, the Capitals will need more from Backstrom and Alexander Semin in this series to be successful.

Despite the offensive prowess of the Lightning, the Capitals have something to prove this year. I expect Backstrom to bounce back with a strong series, and with Alexander Ovechkin playing well, it only makes sense to see Backstrom's production rise, and the Capitals to advance.

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