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Dixon: 20 burning Stanley Cup playoff questions

Will Alex Ovechkin be on his A-game when Washington's series against New York kicks off Wednesday night? (Getty Images)

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Will Alex Ovechkin be on his A-game when Washington's series against New York kicks off Wednesday night? (Getty Images)

In this line of work, the questions come fast and furious this time of year. More specifically the question - “So who’s gonna win it all?” - is on the mind of friends, sports-talk radio hosts and anybody who delivers anything to The Hockey News office.

But the matter of who will be crowned Cup champ is still a very distant issue. There are far more pressing matters to be addressed and since all we’ve been doing is trying to provide answers lately, we felt justified in throwing 20 burning questions of our own on to the playoff fire.

• Is there a more important Game 1 than the tilt between Chicago and Vancouver?

• How many goalies will see action for the Washington Capitals this post-season and will their fate be tied to it being as few as possible?

• When you consider everything it takes to succeed in the playoffs, is there a skater you’d take on your team before two-way wonder Pavel Datsyuk?

• Good showing for Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis in last year’s playoffs; can he do it while more people are watching him this time?

• Only one top-four seed advanced from the first round in the East last spring; can the top seeds sweep this April?

• If Nashville finally wins one round, where do the Preds stop?

• Young D-men John Carlson and P.K. Subban had strong playoff debuts in 2010 before they were technically even rookies. Can they both meet expectations as freshmen blueliners who are essentially expected to do a bit of everything for their clubs?

• Will Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky get respect or be exposed now that everyone is watching?

• If things go poorly for their teams, could Cory Schneider and Tuukka Rask be Game 3 starters?

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• Is Alex Ovechkin going to play like he was shot out of a cannon now that the games really mean something?

• Are we going to see his arch-rival at all?

• If Boston learned its painful lesson, are the B’s the team to beat in the East?

• Why does it feel like Phoenix might take down the Wings?

• Was the fact Steven Stamkos scored in his final regular season game, after netting just four in his previous 27 outings, a good harbinger for Tampa?

• Do the Canadiens skaters really think it’s fair to ask Carey Price to play like Jaroslav Halak?

• Can Chris Pronger make his fourth trip to the final in six post-lockout seasons?

• Can Cody Hodgson and Maxim Lapierre at least soften the blow of Manny Malhotra’s loss in Vancouver?

• Are Staal brothers Marc and Jordan about to improve on their already quality reputations by thriving as go-to guys?

• Is this finally San Jose’s…ah, forget it.

• Does it get any better than this?

Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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