Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Schedule Announced

Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL
The Stanley Cup playoffs begin on Wednesday after a two-day break from the end of the regular season. Today, the NHL announced the schedule for the first round of the playoffs, starting at 7 EST when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Eastern Conference:

(8) Detroit Red Wings at (1) Boston Bruins

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 (7:30 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 2 – Sunday, April 20 (3:00 PM ET – NBC, TSN)
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 (7:30 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 4 – Thursday, April 24 (8:00 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
* Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 (3:00 PM ET – NBC, TSN)
* Game 6 – Monday, April 28 (TBD – TSN)
* Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 (TBD – TSN)

*if necessary

Two playoff-hardened teams face off in the first round this year. Detroit has made the playoffs for 23 consecutive seasons, while the Bruins have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in the past three years. The Red Wings come into the series as a major underdog, a position they have rarely found themselves in during their impressive playoff streak.

(7) Columbus Blue Jackets at (2) Pittsburgh Penguins

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 16 (7:30 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-O)
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 (7:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-O)
Game 3 – Monday, April 21 (7:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-O)
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 23 (7:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-O)
* Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 (TBD – CBC, FS-O)
* Game 6 – Monday, April 28 (TBD – CBC, FS-O)
* Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 (TBD – CBC, FS-O)

*If necessary

The Stanley Cup playoffs leads to some odd matchups, and this one is sure to be one of the oddest. The Penguins have a wealth of offensive talent and playoff experience, while the Blue Jackets are short in both regards. The two Metropolitan division foes do not have much of a rivalry, but this playoff series could be the spark needed to cause one to grow.

(4) Montreal Canadiens at (3) Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 16 (7:00 PM ET – CNBC, RDS, CBC)
Game 2 – Friday, April 18 (7:00 PM ET – CNBC, RDS, CBC)
Game 3 – Sunday, April 20 (7:00 PM ET – NBCSN, RDS, CBC)
Game 4 – Tuesday, April 22 (7:00 PM ET – NHLN-US, RDS, CBC)
* Game 5 – Thursday, April 24 (7:00 PM ET – CNBC, RDS, CBC)
* Game 6 – Sunday, April 27 (TBD – NBCSN, RDS, CBC)
* Game 7 – Tuesday, April 29 (TBD – RDS, CBC)

*If necessary

The Lightning hold home ice advantage over the Canadiens, which may be a deciding factor between these two evenly-matched teams. The offensive talent from the backend should make this series an exciting one to watch, as Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman and Montreal’s PK Subban have both put up massive points in addition to their solid defensive play.

(6) Philadelphia Flyers at (5) New York Rangers

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 (7:00 PM ET – CNBC, TSN, CSN-PH)
Game 2 – Sunday, April 20 (12:00 PM ET – NBC, TSN)
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 (8:00 PM ET – CNBC, TSN2, CSN-PH)
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 (7:00 PM ET – CNBC, TSN, CSN-PH)
* Game 5 – Sunday, April 27 (12:00 ET – NBC, TSN)
* Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 (TBD – TSN, CSN-PH)
* Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 (TBD – TSN, CSN-PH)

*if necessary

The Philadelphia-New York rivalry makes its appearance in the first round of this year’s playoff. This series is sure to be a physical and grinding one for the two teams, as both teams like to wear opponents down with a strong forecheck and solid defensive play. The goaltending matchup between Lundqvist and Mason could decide the series.

Western Conference:

(8) Dallas Stars at (1) Anaheim Ducks

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 16 (10:00 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 2 – Friday, April 18 (10:00 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 3 – Monday, April 21 (9:30 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 23 (8:00 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
* Game 5 – Friday, April 25 (10:30 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
* Game 6 – Sunday, April 27 (TBD – TSN)
* Game 7 – Tuesday, April 29 (TBD – TSN)

*if necessary

It took every available game for the Dallas Stars to clinch a playoff spot, while the Anaheim Ducks clinched the first seed in the West the next day. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, Anaheim fell to the Stars in the first round of the 07-08 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ducks are hoping to avoid a repeat of history and avoid a major upset in the process.

(7) Minnesota Wild at (2) Colorado Avalanche

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 (9:30 PM ET – CNBC, TSN)
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 (9:30 PM ET – NBCSN, TSN)
Game 3 – Monday, April 21 (7:00 PM ET – NHLN-US, TSN)
Game 4 – Thursday, April 24 (9:30 PM ET – CNBC, TSN2)
* Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 (TBD – TSN)
* Game 6 – Monday, April 28 (TBD – TSN)
* Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 (TBD – TSN)

*if necessary

If any series could be considered David versus Goliath, this first round matchup would fit the bill. The Avalanche have been a dominant team all season, receiving major contributions from their young players and solid goaltending from Semyon Varalamov. Their inexperience may cost them against the Wild, who have veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter leading their team.

(5) Chicago Blackhawks at (3) St. Louis Blues

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 (8:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, CSN-CH)
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 (3:00 PM ET – NBC, CBC)
Game 3 – Monday, April 21 (8:30 PM ET – CNBC, CBC, FS-MW, CSN-CH)
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 23 (9:30 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-MW, CSN-CH)
* Game 5 – Friday, April 25 (8:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC, FS-MW, CSN-CH)
* Game 6 – Sunday, April 27 (3:00 PM ET – NBC, CBC)
* Game 7 – Tuesday, April 29 (TBD – CBC, FS-MW, CSN-CH)

*if necessary

A month ago, this matchup might have been THE one to watch in the first round of these playoffs, but in that time span, one team has struggled mightily. The St. Louis Blues enter the playoffs having lost their last six games of the season, the many injuries to their starting lineup being a big reason why. Chicago has their eyes set for a repeat, and a jarred St. Louis team is their first step along the way.

(6) Los Angeles Kings at (4) San Jose Sharks

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 (10:30 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC)
Game 2 – Sunday, April 20 (10:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC)
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 (10:00 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC)
Game 4 – Thursday, April 24 (10:30 PM ET – NBCSN, CBC)
* Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 (TBD – NBCSN, CBC)
* Game 6 – Monday, April 28 (TBD – CBC)
* Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 (TBD – CBC)

* if necessary

The cross-state rivalry makes its third appearance in the playoffs over the last four seasons, with both teams taking a series in their previous two meetings. Los Angeles is a recent Stanley Cup winner, while the Sharks are still looking for their first. The forward depth for both teams will ensure that no matter which line is on the ice, a score chance will be generated.

The first four games of every series in the playoffs are on national television through the family of NBC networks or on the US version of NHL Network. Games 5-7 in every series will have their details finalized when they are deemed necessary to complete the series. The Stanley Cup playoffs begin on Wednesday, and for many hockey fans, it is the best time of the year.

Commentary by Jonathan Gardner

Sources:
NHL

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