The 2014 NHL playoffs have been full of exciting matchups and incredible upsets in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, and the drama is only heating up, as the second round has already shifted into high gear.
With eight of the best teams in the league still fighting for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, hockey fans from across the world will be treated to the best competition imaginable for the remainder of the playoffs.
Here is the updated bracket, full second-round schedule and television info every hockey fan needs to enjoy the remainder of the postseason.
Here's the updated 2014 NHL Playoff Bracket! Who are you cheering for? pic.twitter.com/mMAXLnnmLf— Maple Ridge Chrysler (@MapleRidgeCJD) May 1, 2014
*Bracket via Maple Ridge Chrysler. Updated bracket via NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.
|1||Canadiens beat Bruins, 4-3||May 1||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Bruins beat Canadiens, 5-3||May 3||12:30 p.m.||NBC|
|3||Bruins at Canadiens||May 6||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Bruins at Canadiens||May 8||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 10||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Bruins at Canadiens||May 12||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|1||Rangers beat Penguins, 3-2||May 2||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Rangers at Penguins||May 4||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Penguins at Rangers||May 5||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Penguins at Rangers||May 7||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||Rangers at Penguins||May 9||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Penguins at Rangers||May 11||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Rangers at Penguins||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|1||Blackhawks beat Wild, 5-2||May 2||9:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Wild at Blackhawks||May 4||3 p.m.||NBC|
|3||Blackhawks at Wild||May 6||9 p.m.||CNBC|
|4||Blackhawks at Wild||May 9||TBD||TBD|
|5*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 11||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Blackhawks at Wild||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 15||TBD||TBD|
|1||Kings beat Ducks, 3-2||May 3||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Kings at Ducks||May 5||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Ducks at Kings||May 8||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Ducks at Kings||May 10||TBD||TBD|
|5*||Kings at Ducks||May 12||TBD||TBD|
|6*||Ducks at Kings||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Kings at Ducks||May 16||TBD||TBD|
Source: NHL.com. *Denotes if necessary
Series Fans Can’t Miss: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks
The best series of the entire second round is the battle of California between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
Which team will win this series?
Using elite physical play and defensive pressure, both Los Angeles and Anaheim will be doing their best to get under the skin of their opponent. After racking up an incredible 71 combined shots and 95 hits in Game 1, this series will be everything hockey fans could ask for.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty told the Associated Press, via USA Today, about the familiarity between the teams and his approach to shutting the Ducks down:
I've played Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry so many times, and I've played with them. I know exactly how they play. They're two of the hardest players to play in the league. It doesn't matter who's the third guy on that line. I've studied how they play so many times. It just comes down to out-competing them and being a better player in every situation. It's going to be tough for me to do, but I've got to do it.
The Kings were able to steal the show in the first game of the series with the help of forward Marian Gaborik, who scored a goal in the waning seconds of regulation to force overtime and then scored the game-winning tally in extra time. Gaborik was acquired before the trade deadline and has paid major dividends thus far.
Gaborik’s overtime goal caused quite a stir, with Mike Kelly of NHL Network and SportsCenter’s official Twitter account commenting on the situation:
Gaborik: 2nd player in playoff history to tie game in final 15 seconds then win it in OT. (Stastny the other, in Round 1)— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) May 4, 2014
Marian Gaborik again! Ties it with seven seconds left in regulation, then wins it in overtime! What a game for him, what a series opener!— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 4, 2014
Despite the success Los Angeles found in Game 1 and throughout the season, Anaheim was the No. 1 seed coming into the postseason for a reason. With incredible offensive depth, a solid defensive game plan and a star like Jonas Hiller between the pipes, the Ducks aren’t going out without a fight.
The hope is that the rest of this second-round series is as exciting as the first chapter of the battle and that both the Kings and the Ducks continue playing with the same intensity each team showcased Saturday night.
After stealing Game 1, Los Angeles is the series favorite.
Series Prediction: Los Angeles wins 4-3
*Stats via NHL.com.