And then there were none.
The Columbus Blue Jackets no longer can lay claim to the fact they were the only NHL team to not make the playoffs. When the 2009 tournament begins this week, the Jackets will be at the dance, facing off against the mighty Detroit Red Wings in the opening round.
"We've reached a point now, where people can look at this team, see what we've come from and what our future looks like, and they can see that it's worth having an attachment to," general manager Scott Howson said. "That's the credibility we needed to restore."
The Jackets-Wings matchup is one of two in the West that has clubs meeting for the first time in the post-season, with San Jose-Anaheim the other.
In the East, two rivalries, one that has been around forever and another that is newer, will be rekindled. The Montreal Canadiens probably are the last team the conference champion Boston Bruins wanted to see in the first round, while Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins have had a little thing going with Mike Richards and the Philadelphia Flyers for a few seasons.
While it's always safe to stay away from predicting upsets, keep in mind that just 23 points separated first and eighth seeds in the East and 26 separated the first and eighth in the West. On paper, that might seem like a lot. In the playoffs, anything can happen.