NHL Playoffs 2014: Round 2 Schedule, TV Info and Power Ranking Each Series

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) blocks a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) during an NHL hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers in Pittsburgh, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. The Rangers won 4-3 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The first round of the 2014 NHL playoffs reminded fans of what's so great about the chase for the Stanley Cup with a multitude of overtime games and three series that went the distance.

Now the question becomes whether the conference semifinals can live up to the same standard.

Based on the matchups, the chances are good that they will. In the East, the Boston Bruins take on the rival Montreal Canadiens while star power will take center stage as the Pittsburgh Penguins battle the New York Rangers.

In the West, the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks look to continue their repeat bid against the Minnesota Wild while the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings fight to survive the difficult Pacific Division portion of the bracket.

Let's check out the complete schedule for the second round, including television info, followed by a power ranking of all four series as teams bid for a spot in the conference finals.

 

Round 2 Schedule

2014 NHL Playoffs - Second Round
EAST
GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TV
1Canadiens 4, Bruins 3May 17:30 p.m.NBCSN
2Canadiens at BruinsMay 312:30 p.m.NBC
3Bruins at CanadiensMay 67 p.m.NBCSN
4Bruins at CanadiensMay 87:30 p.m.NBCSN
5*Canadiens at BruinsMay 10TBDTBD
6*Bruins at CanadiensMay 12TBDTBD
7*Canadiens at BruinsMay 14TBDTBD
GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TV
1Rangers at PenguinsMay 27 p.m.NBCSN
2Rangers at PenguinsMay 47:30 p.m.NBCSN
3Penguins at RangersMay 57:30 p.m.NBCSN
4Penguins at RangersMay 77:30 p.m.NBCSN
5*Rangers at PenguinsMay 9TBDTBD
6*Penguins at RangersMay 11TBDTBD
7*Rangers at PenguinsMay 13TBDTBD
WEST
GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TV
1Wild at BlackhawksMay 29:30 p.m.NBCSN
2Wild at BlackhawksMay 43 p.m.NBC
3Blackhawks at WildMay 69 p.m.CNBC
4Blackhawks at WildMay 9TBDTBD
5*Wild at BlackhawksMay 11TBDTBD
6*Blackhawks at WildMay 13TBDTBD
7*Wild at BlackhawksMay 15TBDTBD
GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TV
1Kings at DucksMay 38 p.m.NBCSN
2Kings at DucksMay 510 p.m.NBCSN
3Ducks at KingsMay 810 p.m.NBCSN
4Ducks at KingsMay 10TBDTBD
5*Kings at DucksMay 12TBDTBD
6*Ducks at KingsMay 14TBDTBD
7*Kings at DucksMay 16TBDTBD
NHL.com; *Denotes if necessary

 

Series Power Rankings

1. Bruins vs. Canadiens

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24: Kevan Miller #86 of the Boston Bruins fights against Travis Moen #32 of the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Garden on March 24, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Steve Babineau/Getty Images

The best word to describe this series would probably be "intense." In an era when rivalries aren't as prevalent, the one between Boston and Montreal continues to thrive.

Having them face off up to seven straight times should lead to plenty of drama.

One of the biggest keys for both teams is finding a way to channel that added emotion in a positive way. Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com passed along comments from Brad Marchand, who talked about having to keep their eye on the ultimate goal:

It's a longstanding rivalry and it goes back so far, so many years. The fans love it, the media loves it and obviously we love being out against them, but we can't let that get in our way of the real goal and we need to make sure we have a really good game every time we step on the ice.

In order for Montreal to pull off the upset, it's going to need an even better offensive performance than it got in a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning. That means more production from Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty, among others.

However, it's an uphill battle with Tuukka Rask playing so well.

 

2. Penguins vs. Rangers

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 07:  Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers scores past Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the shootout at Consol Energy Center on February 7, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One constant across the sports spectrum is the importance of star power. It should be on full display in this series, as the Penguins led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal take on Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist.

Diehard hockey fans are always going to watch, but this is the type of series that can demand a mainstream audience as well.

Hopefully, the matchup develops to allow the skilled players on both sides to shine rather than turning into a grind-it-out series.

Add in the fact that the Rangers are capable of giving the Penguins a very tough series after edging the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games, and it has all the makings of a long, exciting series.

The difference could very well be Marc-Andre Fleury, who was shaky in net for Pittsburgh in Round 1.

 

3. Ducks vs. Kings

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY)  Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save in front of Dustin Brown #23 and Jarret Stoll #28 of the Los Angeles Kings during the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium on January 2
Harry How/Getty Images

The battle of California is interesting because neither the Ducks nor the Kings were at their best in the opening round. Anaheim was almost forced to a seventh game by the Dallas Stars before a late comeback in Game 6 and Los Angeles had to come back from a 3-0 deficit against the San Jose Sharks.

Both teams certainly have enough talent to challenge for the Cup, but it comes down to which team is able to showcase that type of ability in Round 2.

As John Buccigross of ESPN points out, if the regular season, is any indication it will be the Ducks:

Anaheim ranked inside the top 10 in both goals scored and goals allowed during the regular season. Expect the defense to bounce back after a mediocre series against Dallas, which should be the difference in a series that goes at least six games.

 

4. Blackhawks vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, MN - JANUARY 23: (L-R) Ben Smith #28 and Brandon Bollig #52 of the Chicago Blackhawks battle with Jason Pominville #29 of the Minnesota Wild for the puck during the game on January 23, 2014 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Phot
Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

Minnesota took advantage of a favorable matchup against an extremely talented Colorado Avalanche team that wasn't quite ready for the rigors of postseason hockey.

It won't be as lucky against the Blackhawks, who are obviously a battle-tested squad.

Chicago came through the most difficult first-round series by ousting the St. Louis Blues in six games. Corey Crawford once again came through on the big stage, showing why he might be the most important player on a team with plenty of other big names.

Ultimately, the Wild will struggle to match the Hawks' firepowerespecially if Crawford continues to be at the top of his game.

Chicago should advance in five games, which won't leave the series enough time to leave the same type of impact as some of the others.