There are statistical wizards who lurk about the woods these days pointing out some most interesting numbers with respect to teams who sweep their first round series.
The Vancouver Canucks may find these numbers both encouraging and chilling.
Since the NHL went to the best-of-seven format in round one in 1986 there have been 21 teams sweep first round series. In '87, Detroit and Montreal both swept and won their next round before losing in the semis. Then it gets interesting. Since then there have been 19 sweeps in the first round, and eight of the winners have gone to the final, four of them winning the big trophy. That's the good news, but now the chill. Eleven of these first round sweepers promptly went out in the next round. Those are not great odds and clearly put the boots to the theory that you can't get too much rest. Some teams clearly did.
Vancouver vs. Chicago 4.
Chicago outlook: The Blackhawks have to be encouraged that when the Calgary Flames entered the series they were pretty confident but by the time this young team finished with them, the Flames appeared old, contract-bound and extremely vulnerable to a profound fall down next year's standings. The Hawks murdered the Flames on the power play going 7-for-24 and turned Miikka Kiprusoff into a whimpering wreck by the time Game 6 ended even though they were badly outshot. It's those shots against figures that must have coach Joel Quenneville somewhat worried going in against the Canucks. The Hawks' Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will be trying to throttle the Sedin line and you have to give it too them than they did make Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri look pretty ordinary by the time that series ended.