There are several marquee first-round matchups across the league and hockey fans have been treated to an incredible start to the 2014 NHL playoff schedule.
With overtime thrillers, offensive showcases and defensive struggles, there has been something for everyone thus far. The excitement will only grow as each team continues their hunt for Stanley Cup glory.
Here is the full remaining first-round schedule for the 2014 playoffs, television information and predictions for each series. For an updated NHL playoff bracket, check out NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.
|Complete 2014 NHL Playoffs First-Round Schedule|
|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|
|Wednesday, April 16||7 p.m.||Montreal at Tampa Bay||CNBC|
|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|
|Wednesday, April 16||7:30 p.m.||Columbus at Pittsburgh||NBCSN|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Wednesday, April 16||10 p.m.||Dallas at Anaheim||NBCSN|
|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|
|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. (*if necessary) TV Info for extra games released as determined.|
After checking out the schedule, here are the predictions for every first-round matchup:
|First-Round Matchups and Predictions|
|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|
|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|
Monday’s Most Underrated Matchup: Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars
TV Info: Monday, April 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
While Monday’s schedule is full of marquee matchups—Pittsburgh tangles with Columbus and Chicago squares off against St. Louis—the most entertaining game will be the bitter battle between the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars.
Anaheim is the best offensive unit in the league, averaging an astounding 3.2 goals per game during the regular season, and the team picked up right where they left off by racking up seven goals through the first two games of the first-round series.
Led by the elite play of Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen—who has stopped 66 of 71 shots in the series—and the depth at every forward position, Anaheim has taken a 2-0 series lead as the teams head back to Dallas.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told the Associated Press, via ESPN, about the elite play of team captain Ryan Getzlaf, despite taking a puck to the face:
Every once in a while, you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys lose their composure. Getzy, with what happened to him in the last three days, to come in and get two points and a plus-three rating, is a sure reason why he [should be] hopefully nominated for the MVP.
Now that the Stars are trailing in the series, ESPN’s stat department has a sobering fact for Dallas fans:
The Stars will not go out without a fight, though, and two losses by a combined two goals shows just how close this series matchup has been and will continue to be.
If star forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin can step up in the offensive zone, this Western Conference battle could shift dramatically in Texas.
While there is no doubt that Anaheim has the deeper roster and more talent throughout the depth chart, the Stars will be fired up playing in front of a raucous home crowd. At the very least, Dallas will break through on Monday for a victory on home ice.
Game 3 Prediction: Dallas wins 3-1
*All stats and information via NHL.com.