NHL Playoff Schedule 2014: Updated Postseason Bracket and 1st-Round Predictions

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NHL Playoff Schedule 2014: Updated Postseason Bracket and 1st-Round Predictions
Charles Rex Arbogast

The end of the NHL regular season has hockey fans across the world upset, but fans will enjoy the 2014 playoff schedule and the marquee matchups it has produced.

Whether you are a casual hockey fan or a diehard NHL fanatic, the first-round battles of this year’s postseason are a dream come true. With Boston squaring off against Detroit in an Original Six matchup and San Jose battling Los Angeles in a war for California, there are intriguing storylines in every series.

Here is the full schedule for the playoffs, full first-round predictions and a preview of the most intriguing first-round series.

For an updated NHL playoff bracket, check out NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.

Remaining 2014 NHL Playoffs First-Round Schedule
Eastern Conference
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Friday, April 18 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Boston NBCSN
Sunday, April 20 3 p.m. Detroit at Boston NBC
Tuesday, April 22 7:30 p.m. Boston at Detroit NBCSN
Thursday, April 24 8 p.m. Boston at Detroit NBCSN
*Saturday, April 26 3 p.m. Detroit at Boston NBC
*Monday, April 28 TBD Boston at Detroit N/A
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Detroit at Boston N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Friday, April 18 7 p.m. Montreal at Tampa Bay CNBC
Sunday, April 20 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Montreal NBCSN
Tuesday, April 22 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Montreal NHL Network
*Thursday, April 24 7 p.m. Montreal at Tampa Bay N/A
*Sunday, April 27 TBD Tampa Bay at Montreal NBCSN
Tuesday, April 29 TBD Montreal at Tampa Bay N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Saturday, April 19 7 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh NBCSN
Monday, April 21 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus NBCSN
Wednesday, April 23 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus NBCSN
*Saturday, April 26 TBD Columbus at Pittsburgh N/A
*Monday, April 28 TBD Pittsburgh at Columbus N/A
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Columbus at Pittsburgh N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Thursday, April 17 7 p.m. Philadelphia at NY Rangers CNBC
Sunday, April 20 Noon Philadelphia at NY Rangers NBC
Tuesday, April 22 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Philadelphia CNBC
Friday, April 25 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Philadelphia CNBC
*Sunday, April 27 Noon Philadelphia at NY Rangers NBC
*Tuesday, April 29 TBD NY Rangers at Philadelphia N/A
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Philadelphia at NY Rangers N/A
Western Conference
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Thursday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at Colorado CNBC
Saturday, April 19 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at Colorado NBCSN
Monday, April 21 7 p.m. Colorado at Minnesota NHL Network
Thursday, April 24 9:30 p.m. Colorado at Minnesota CNBC
*Saturday, April 26 TBD Minnesota at Colorado N/A
*Monday, April 28 TBD Colorado at Minnesota N/A
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Minnesota at Colorado N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Thursday, April 17 8 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis NBCSN
Saturday, April 19 3 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis NBC
Monday, April 21 8:30 p.m. St. Louis at Chicago CNBC
Wednesday, April 23 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Chicago NBCSN
*Friday, April 25 8 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis NBCSN
*Sunday, April 27 3 p.m. St. Louis at Chicago NBC
*Tuesday, April 29 TBD Chicago at St. Louis N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Friday, April 18 10 p.m. Dallas at Anaheim NBCSN
Monday, April 21 9:30 p.m. Anaheim at Dallas NBCSN
Wednesday, April 23 8 p.m. Anaheim at Dallas CNBC
*Friday, April 25 10:30 p.m. Dallas at Anaheim NBCSN
*Sunday, April 27 TBD Anaheim at Dallas N/A
*Tuesday, April 29 TBD Dallas at Anaheim N/A
Date Time (ET) Matchup Watch
Thursday, April 17 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose NBCSN
Sunday, April 20 10 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose NBCSN
Tuesday, April 22 10 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles NBCSN
Thursday, April 24 10:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles NBCSN
*Saturday, April 26 TBD Los Angeles at San Jose NBCSN
*Monday, April 28 TBD San Jose at Los Angeles N/A
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Los Angeles at San Jose N/A

Source: NHL.com

Here are the predictions for every first-round matchup:

First-Round Matchups and Predictions
Eastern Conference
First-Round Matchup Predicted Winner
Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings Boston
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pittsburgh
New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia
Western Conference
First-Round Matchup Predicted Winner
Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars Anaheim
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings San Jose
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild Colorado
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks St. Louis

Source: NHL.com

 

Most Intriguing First-Round Series: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

While there are several intriguing battles to open the 2014 postseason, the most interesting battle will be the heated rivalry between the St. Louis Blues (52-23-7) and the Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15).

Hockey fans have become accustomed to Chicago coming into a playoff matchup as the favorite to win it all, but St. Louis had a better overall season and has earned home-ice advantage in the series.

These two teams are extremely familiar with each other. They play in the same division (The Blues have a 3-2 series advantage.), and there is a long history between the two franchises, as St. Louis’ official Twitter account pointed out:

This series has all the earmarks of an instant classic, but a string of injuries has caused panic for many Blues fans. While David Backes, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie all missed time late in the season, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune shared that everyone except Patrik Berglund returned to practice on Thursday:

Backes is one of St. Louis’ best players, and as one of the leaders of the team, he understands how much emotion and animosity could come out of this physical matchup. He told Lou Korac of NHL.com about his perception of the series:

With Chicago getting back Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, according to Brian Hedger of NHL.com, the Blackhawks will have as much firepower as the Blues. The main advantage is the team’s experience in the playoffs with this core of players and the ability to bring home the Stanley Cup.

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Despite Chicago’s recent postseason runs, St. Louis is the favorite in this series because of its ability to thrive in every situation. Whether it’s even strength, on the power play or on the penalty kill, the Blues will have the Blackhawks beat.

Led by goaltender Ryan Miller—who was acquired before the trade deadline—St. Louis plays a hard-nosed defensive style that doesn’t produce many mistakes. With Chicago lacking the physicality of the Blues, the series will force the Blackhawks to get back to basics.

This series should go seven games, but St. Louis is too fundamentally sound to lose.

Series Prediction: St. Louis Blues win 4-3

 

*All stats and information via NHL.com.

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