Everywhere else, it's the goaltenders

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

This just in: There are three other conference semifinals going on aside from the Pittsburgh Crosbys-Washington Ovies matchup.

You might not realize that, given the understandable hype surrounding the Penguins-Capitals series.

But while the Pittsburgh-Washington affair might well be the most anticipated series in some time, it does lack a key component featured in the other three -- a starting goalie with a Stanley Cup ring.

When the Vancouver Canucks take to the ice tonight to kick off their series against the upstart Chicago Blackhawks tonight, all eyes will be on their star goaltender, Roberto Luongo.

Truth be told, however, Luongo has never made it past the second round. Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, the Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Cup title in 2004.

The Canucks had best be wary. These Hawks, after all, should prove to be a more difficult foe than the St. Louis Blues, the team swept in four games by the Canucks in the first round.

In Detroit, Chris Osgood, just 11 months removed from hoisting the Cup himself, has proven all the naysayers wrong, coming off an up-and-down season by helping the Red Wings to a first-round sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anaheim, meanwhile, has a Cup-winning goalie as well in J-S Giguere, but he finds himself sitting on the bench watching rookie Jonas Hiller.

Finally, the Cardiac Hurricanes shocked Martin Brodeur's New Jersey Devils by scoring twice in the final 80 seconds for a 4-3 victory in Game 7 on Tuesday, earning a second-round date with the Boston Bruins. Carolina goalie Cam Ward matched Brodeur save for save and is showing the form that netted him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during the Hurricanes run to the Cup in 2006.

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury and Washington rookie Simeon Varlamov certainly can't make such a claim. Not yet, anyway.


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