The 2013 NHL playoffs are already off to a strong start, and the league just got a boost from arguably its biggest star as it's been reported that Sidney Crosby will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 2 against the New York Islanders.
All 16 playoff teams are part of the playoff schedule this weekend, with the action beginning shortly after noon on Saturday and not concluding until after midnight on the east on Sunday morning.
What follows is the complete NHL playoff schedule for Saturday and Sunday as well as where you can watch all of the action and one game from each day you must watch.
Saturday, May 4 (all times Eastern Standard)
|New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals||12:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins||7 p.m.||CNBC|
|Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
Game of the Day: Ducks vs. Red Wings
With the series knotted at one game apiece, Detroit will look to ride the momentum from winning Game 2 in Anaheim and jump out to a 2-1 lead in the series over the Ducks.
Despite winning 5-4 in overtime in Game 2, the Red Wings nearly blew an enormous lead. Detroit held a 4-1 lead 30 seconds into the third period but watched as the Ducks completed an improbable comeback, scoring three goals over the next 17 minutes to stretch the game into OT.
Gustav Nyquist saved the day for the Detroit faithful, scoring a power-play goal less than a minute and a half into OT to give the Red Wings their first win of the 2013 playoffs. As ESPN's John Buccigross tells us, the Red Wings and road wins don't often go together.
Red Wings: Just their 3rd win in last 15 road playoff games— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) May 3, 2013
As a seven seed going up against the second-seeded Ducks, the Red Wings were one of my upset picks for the first round of the NHL playoffs, which is why I'm selecting this game as my game of the day to watch.
Besides, if you can't appreciate what Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have done for the Red Wings, then you're not a true hockey fan.
Sunday, May 5 (all times Eastern Standard)
|Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders||12 p.m.||NBC|
|Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild||3 p.m.||NBC|
|Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
Game of the Day: Canadiens vs. Senators
As the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens could be in serious trouble if they fall to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. The Senators already own a 1-0 lead after a dominant 4-2 win in Game 1.
After falling behind 2-1 to Montreal, the Senators scored three straight goals and watched as goaltender Craig Anderson made 48 saves and completely stoned the Canadiens throughout the second half of the second period and throughout the entire third.
As ESPN Stats & Info cites, the Canadiens aren't used to being outscored in the third period.
Canadiens were outscored 3-0 in 3rd period tonight vs Senators. Canadiens had 2nd-best goal differential (+17) in 3rd period in reg season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 3, 2013
Before learning that Sidney Crosby would return to the lineup (via ESPN), I actually picked the Canadiens to meet the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. Aside from my prediction, the fact that a huge NHL upset could be brewing here is reason enough to make this the game of the day for Sunday.
If you're looking for further reason to watch this game, there could be some retaliation from the Canadiens after Lars Eller was sent to the hospital following a vicious hit from Eric Gryba (video above).
Enjoy the action this weekend, folks.
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