Chicago had better be ready 

April, 16, 2010

In the first two days of the playoffs, we've had seven pretty competitive games. How competitive? All seven games were decided by just one goal. That includes a pair of overtime games. During the season, 301 of the league's 1,230 games went to OT. That's roughly one in every four games. I don't see why that ratio will be that different in the playoffs. In fact, we're already a little ahead of that pace.

Here are five playoff thoughts for the day.

1. I know we're only two days into this playoff chase, but if you're planning a trip to the Stanley Cup final series you'll want to know that Games 1 and 2 will be played on back-to-back days. The league tried that scheduling last year and they obviously liked it. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the final series will begin on a Saturday and Sunday. That means the final showdown would begin on either May 29 or June 5, depending on how the first three rounds play out. Bettman believes the back-to-back start allows for some quick momentum with fans (and television viewers).

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.