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The offensive talent on both sides of the ice in this series is staggering, and that’s even before Nikita Kucherov’s, uh, miraculous return from injury in time for the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning just won the Stanley Cup with a high-powered group that starts with a mobile defense led by Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev backing up forwards like Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Kucherov, who merely leads the playoffs in scoring so far.

The Carolina Hurricanes can answer with Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas, Vincent Trocheck up front, not to mention playoff goal-scorer Brock McGinn, and the unpredictable but explosive Dougie Hamilton on defense. All of that makes them a “legit contender,” according to none other than Stamkos on Saturday.

It’s easy to look at all of that and expect, or perhaps maybe hope, that the second round will be a little more up and down, a little less bump and grind, than the first round was. The only way the Nashville Predators — a one-line, one-pairing team — could compete with the speed and skill of the Hurricanes was to slow things down, clog up the ice and grind it out. The Hurricanes and Lightning, theoretically, could whiz up and down the ice trading chances like it’s 1985 all over again.

“This is obviously a team that’s very dangerous on the rush and off turnovers and quick transition,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “It’s going to be a different style for sure.”

Yes, isn’t it pretty to think so?

One needs only to look at the eight games these teams played during the regular season to be disabused of any notion this series will be any less brutal than the last. Five of the eight were one-goal games before empty-net goals. Two went to OT. Only once did one team get four goals past the opposing goalie.

The stretch of four games in six days in February that served as a sort-of mini-playoff preview — two in Raleigh followed by two in Tampa — saw the Lightning win three of four, but if you take out the empty-net goal in every game, a reminder of how close things actually were, there were a total of 13 goals scored, 7-6 in favor of Tampa. There were two shutouts. It was not an offensive bonanza.

“I looked back at all our games against Tampa and there wasn’t a lot of room,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It was low scoring and low shots. We had a lot more against Nashville. It looks that way, but we were getting quite a bit of offense. It might be tighter in this series than the other series, just based on how they defend. And obviously, they’ve got some high power, so we’re going to have to try to defend them and shut it down.”

Then you’ve got the goalies, with Alex Nedeljkovic catching lightning in a bottle for the Hurricanes as a rookie — he recorded his first NHL shutout against the Lightning in February — and Andrei Vasilevskiy the current NHL gold standard and presumptive Vezina Trophy favorite for the Lightning. Both ranked among the top six in every traditional and advanced goaltending stat.

In terms of goals per game, neither team was in the top six for offense in the NHL. Both were in the top six defensively.

So just as the Lightning and Florida Panthers slugged it out for six games in a first-round series that sometimes turned violent, all the skill on the ice in the second round is going to have to fight its way through the static to rise above. The Lightning will be far more dangerous off turnovers than the Predators, but a few key power-play goals could swing the series one direction or the other. A goaltender may steal a game or two. A physical price will still be paid.

“It won’t be a cakewalk going up and down the ice,” Staal said.

That’s the way it always is, and that’s the way it will be again.