NHL Playoffs 2014: Updated Bracket and Predictions for Rest of 1st Round

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NHL Playoffs 2014: Updated Bracket and Predictions for Rest of 1st Round
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

After a wild start to the 2014 NHL playoffs and an action-packed Sunday on the postseason schedule, it’s time for the hockey fans across the world to check all of the updated information as they prepare for Monday’s set of games.

With four marquee games on Monday’s docket, including top teams like Pittsburgh, Anaheim and the epic battle between St. Louis and Chicago, even casual hockey fans are excited for the intense competition.

Here are all the first-round matchups and the updated predictions for each series. For an updated NHL playoff bracket, check out NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.

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 Montreal
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

 

Monday’s Best Matchup: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

TV Info: Monday, April 21 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CNBC

There are four exciting games on the schedule for Monday, but no series has been as entertaining as the battle between Western Conference rivals the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks.

After two of the most exciting games of the postseason, St. Louis leads the series 2-0.

As Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch pointed out, this series is already amazing, and Monday is only the third game of the battle:

Each of the first two games between these Central Division foes were forced into overtime, and the Blues were able to pull out the 4-3 victory in each matchup. While the Blackhawks have been in control at points in both games thus far, the focus and the tenacity of St. Louis has created two of the most exciting postseason matchups thus far.

Now, the series shifts to Chicago.

When asked about blowing the opportunity to win one or both games in St. Louis, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told Chris Kuc of The Chicago Tribune about the team’s focus on winning at home:

It's hard to think about what could have been these last two games, but what are you going to do? We have a great opportunity to go home and turn this thing around in our own building. Take that momentum and find a way to not let it go.

The task won’t be easy for Chicago as the Blues have gained serious momentum and confidence over the first two games. St. Louis has been predicated on a strong defensive style this season, but the team has been forced to focus more on the offensive production against a talented Blackhawks roster full of firepower.

Game 1 featured three overtimes before the Blues finally pulled out the victory, and few fans believed Game 2 would live up to the excitement. That was until Chicago defender Brent Seabrook hit David Backes with an illegal charge in the waning moments of the third period.

With just seven seconds left in the game, the Blues capitalized on the power play by tying the score and sending the series into its second overtime in as many games. It was in the first overtime period this time that Barret Jackman made a name for himself by giving St. Louis the definitive series advantage.

After watching the first two games of the series, there are few that would be stunned if Game 3 also went to a thrilling overtime. Even if you aren’t rooting for a team in this series, hockey fans will be glued to the television.

Game 3 Prediction: Chicago wins 3-2.

 

All stats and information via NHL.com.

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