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Video: Previewing the second round

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The first round is over, but don’t plan on taking a big hockey break. The 2012 playoffs’ semifinals are scheduled  to begin tonight with Game 1 of the Nashville Predators-Phoenix Coyotes series, which begins at 9 pm ET on NBC Sports Network.

Keith Jones and Mike Milbury break down the second round for your viewing pleasure in the video below.

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Video: Bears linebacker Lance Briggs shoots the puck fairly well

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Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs talks a pretty big game, which makes sense since he’s been in the Pro Bowl a whopping seven times. He participated in the Chicago Blackhawks’ Shoot a Puck competition, but he fell a bit short – much like the Hawks did in dropping a 3-1 decision to the Dallas Stars.

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Not bad, but he’s no Jamie Benn.

Montreal catches Detroit sleeping, take first period 4-0

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If there are such things as “trap games” in the NHL, then that might just be happening as the Montreal Canadiens currently have a jaw-dropping 6-0 lead over the Detroit Red Wings.

Go ahead and get the inevitable jokes out of your system. The elderly Red Wings took advantage of the All-Star weekend’s early bird special. Or maybe go with a Tim Thomas joke: “Detroit decides that the 82-game season has grown as bloated as the federal government.”

To many, this is all about Detroit sleepwalking through the last game before the All-Star break, but Montreal is worthy of credit for sticking it to a great team. Enjoy highlights of a surprising 4-0 first period below:

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Milbury and Jones explain the streaking Blues

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The St. Louis Blues used last night’s 1-0 victory against the Dallas Stars to vault themselves into a tie for the best record in the Western Conference with 60 points in 45 games. It’s no secret that the team turned the proverbial corner when Ken Hitchcock took over for Davis Payne at the beginning of November. They’ve earned points in 27 of 32 games under their new boss (21-5-6) and they’ve gone 11-0-2 in their last 13 games at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. No matter how you cut it, this team is streaking.

Watch as Keith Jones and Mike Milbury weigh-in on the Blues recent success.

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Video: Foligno goes low on Phaneuf, Leafs captain responds

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The Battle of Ontario is alive and well. In Ottawa’s game in Toronto, Senators forward Nick Foligno delivered a low check to Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf in the same mold of Brad Marchand’s check on Sami Salo and Evgeni Malkin’s low check on Vinny Lecavalier. We can debate the legality of all three hits, but the fact remains that the hip check is returning to the game. In some cases, the low hip check.

For the record, Foligno received a two-minute penalty on the play.

How long before the new buzzword in the NHL is “low bridge?” Take a look for yourself at Foligno’s handiwork:

Whether any of these are legal hits or not, the reaction from the opponent was the same: anger. The Canucks were upset with Marchand’s low check on Salo that earned the Bruins’ forward a five-game suspension. Vinny Lecavalier was fuming after Malkin up-ended him with a low hit late in the Pens victory over the Lightning over the weekend. And Dion Phaneuf? He wasn’t happy about an opponent going low either.

So what did Phaneuf do? He waited until the right opportunity, lined Foligno up for a check of his own, and then dropped the gloves with the willing combatant. For fans who want the players to police themselves and “handle it on the ice,” this is exactly the kind of response they’d expect.

Take a look at the response: