NHL Playoff TV Schedule 2012: Start Times and Dates for Every Game

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2012

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  Patrice Bergeron #37, Mark Recchi #28, Shawn Thornton #22, and Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a long and grueling 82-game season, the NHL playoffs are finally set to take place. There were certainly plenty of surprises in terms of seemingly good teams missing the postseason and unheralded teams garnering top seeds, so this season's playoffs should be quite unpredictable.

The favorites include the usual suspects like the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins, but there is most definitely the potential for a dark horse to emerge as a contender. Anything can happen this time of year, and that will be put to the test in the coming weeks.

The first round will consist of eight intriguing series, and since every hockey fan surely wants to know when and where to catch every game, below is the television listing for your convenience.

Playoff Schedule (TV and Times)

Eastern Conference

1. New York Rangers (109 Pts) vs. 8. Ottawa Senators (92 Pts)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NHL Network, CBC
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Ottawa at NY Rangers TBD

2. Boston Bruins (102 Pts) vs. 7. Washington Capitals (92 Pts)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC Sports Network, CBC
Saturday, April 14, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC, CBC
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington NBC Sports Network, CBC
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Boston at Washington TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Washington at Boston TBD

3. Florida Panthers (94 Pts) vs. 6. New Jersey Devils (102 Pts)

Friday, April 13, 2012 7 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NHL Network, TSN
Sunday, April 15, 2012 7:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NBC Sports Network, TSN
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey NHL Network, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey NHL Network, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NHL Network, TSN
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Florida at New Jersey TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD New Jersey at Florida TBD

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (108 Pts) vs. 5. Philadelphia Flyers (103 Pts)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
Sunday, April 15, 2012 3 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia NBC, TSN
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Friday, April 20, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Pittsburgh at Philadelphia TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Philadelphia at Pittsburgh TBD

Western Conference

1. Vancouver Canucks (111 Pts) vs. 8. Los Angeles Kings (95 Pts)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Friday, April 13, 2012 10 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:30 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Vancouver at Los Angeles TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD

2. St. Louis Blues (109 Pts) vs. 7. San Jose Sharks (96 Pts)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
Monday, April 16, 2012 10 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose NBC Sports Network, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:30 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD St. Louis at San Jose TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD San Jose at St. Louis TBD

3. Phoenix Coyotes (97 Pts) vs. 6. Chicago Blackhawks (101 Pts)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
Saturday, April 14, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago CNBC, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 8 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago CNBC, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD Phoenix at Chicago TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Chicago at Phoenix TBD

4. Nashville Predators (104 Pts) vs. 5. Detroit Red Wings (102 Pts)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Sunday, April 15, 2012 Noon Nashville at Detroit NBC, CBC
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:30 p.m. Nashville at Detroit NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Friday, April 20, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Nashville at Detroit TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Detroit at Nashville TBD

Most Intriguing Matchup: Penguins vs. Flyers

Whenever divisional and in-state rivals like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers meet up, it is sure to be a firecracker of a game. When you make it a seven-game series, however, things get even better. Just a week ago, the Penguins and Flyers got involved in a major brawl after some extracurricular activity between Sidney Crosby and Brayden Schenn. There is no question that the bad blood will carry over into the playoffs.

These teams were duking it out all season long in the standings, so it's only fitting that they ended up as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively. This matchup is about as even as they get in the playoffs, as each team has plenty of scoring, plays with physicality and has a goaltender capable of stealing a series. If this series goes the distance, then Game 7 should be the most intense game of the year.

Player to Watch: Sidney Crosby, F, PIT

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 29:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 29, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 5-3.  (Photo by Bruce Benn
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Whether he's playing or not, all eyes are always on Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. The former Hart Trophy and Stanley Cup winner played in just 22 games this season, but he registered over 1.5 points per game when he did play, so it's safe to say that he is the most dangerous player in the league. Crosby appears to be over his concussion symptoms, but he hasn't played in a playoff game in two years.

Everything is always taken up a few octaves come playoff time, so Crosby will have to have his head on a swivel. The Flyers won't be shy about putting a body on him and knocking him around, so Crosby will need to play a very smart game. Because of Crosby the Penguins may be the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, but fans will be watching his durability just as closely as they'll be watching his supreme skill.