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(John Raoux)
(John Raoux)

Has Round 2 been a dud? Add to ...

I imagine many hockey fans would say yes.

There are two more Game 4s tonight, one in Detroit and one in Boston, and two more teams can be eliminated. In fact, if the Sharks, Bruins and Canucks all win their next games, the second round will be over on Saturday night, nine days after it began last Thursday.

It will have been only 17 games long, which has to be some sort of a record.

After a first round that involved four Game 7s and plenty of drama, it's been quite a comedown, even with one-third of games in these playoffs going to overtime.

What's winning games at this point has for the most part been coaching tactics and defensive hockey, with the Lightning, Bruins and Canucks being rewarded mainly for being able to shut down opponents. There have been 75 goals scored in the 14 second-round games, but 10 were in a wild 7-3 Bruins' win in Game 1 of a series where Philadelphia's ugly goaltending has upped the goal count.

Minus that game, there's been an average of five goals per game, which includes just 15 in the four games played between the Canucks and Preds.

And that includes Henrik's empty-netter last night.

There are also some good storylines beginning to emerge, with the likes of Joe Thornton, Patrice Bergeron, Vinny Lecavalier and Ryan Kesler arriving as MVPs of their various teams for what should make for good battles in Round 3.

Dwayne Roloson and Mark Recchi, two players well past their 40th birthdays, have also been big factors for their teams and are likely to get more attention as the spotlight focuses on four teams.

But with this many series that look like they'll end in four or five games, a lot of defensive hockey and some poor officiating, the next round can't come soon enough.

The good news is that it looks like it won't take long, perhaps as soon as Monday night.

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