The 2014 NHL playoffs have been compelling through almost two full rounds, but there's still more excitement to come as the conference finals and Stanley Cup are on the horizon.
With so many important sporting events going on right now, there's a good chance you missed a bit of Round 2's action. All four series are tight, however, so it'd be best if you didn't miss another game. Better yet, you don't want to miss another faceoff.
To ensure you don't, below is a table detailing the remaining Round 2 schedule for each team. It also includes how each series looks so far, and below the table are my predictions for how it all shakes out.
Don't say I never did anything for you.
|2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule|
|1||Canadiens at Bruins||May 1||Canadiens 4 Bruins 3||Canadiens 1-0|
|2||Canadiens at Bruins||May 3||Bruins 5 Canadiens 3||Series tied 1-1|
|3||Bruins at Canadiens||May 6||Canadiens 4 Bruins 2||Canadiens 2-1|
|4||Bruins at Canadiens||May 8||Bruins 1 Canadiens 0||Series tied 2-2|
|5*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 10||Bruins 4 Canadiens 2||Bruins 3-2|
|6*||Bruins at Canadiens||May 12||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||Canadiens at Bruins||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|1||Rangers at Penguins||May 2||Rangers 3 Penguins 2||Rangers 1-0|
|2||Rangers at Penguins||May 4||Penguins 3 Rangers 0||Series tied 1-1|
|3||Penguins at Rangers||May 5||Penguins 2 Rangers 0||Penguins 2-1|
|4||Penguins at Rangers||May 7||Penguins 4 Rangers 2||Penguins 3-1|
|5*||Rangers at Penguins||May 9||Rangers 5 Penguins 1||Penguins 3-2|
|6*||Penguins at Rangers||May 11||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||Rangers at Penguins||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|1||Wild at Blackhawks||May 2||Blackhawks 5 Wild 2||Blackhawks 1-0|
|2||Wild at Blackhawks||May 4||Blackhawks 4 Wild 1||Blackhawks 2-0|
|3||Blackhawks at Wild||May 6||Wild 4 Blackhawks 0||Blackhawks 2-1|
|4||Blackhawks at Wild||May 9||Wild 4 Blackhawks 2||Series tied 2-2|
|5*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 11||9 p.m.||CNBC|
|6*||Blackhawks at Wild||May 13||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Wild at Blackhawks||May 15||TBD||TBD|
|1||Kings at Ducks||May 3||Kings 3 Ducks 2||Kings 1-0|
|2||Kings at Ducks||May 5||Kings 3 Ducks 1||Kings 2-0|
|3||Ducks at Kings||May 8||Ducks 3 Kings 2||Kings 2-1|
|4||Ducks at Kings||May 10||Ducks 2 Kings 0||Series Tied 2-2|
|5*||Kings at Ducks||May 12||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|6*||Ducks at Kings||May 14||TBD||TBD|
|7*||Kings at Ducks||May 16||TBD||TBD|
|NHL.com, *Denotes if necessary|
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
The Blackhawks and Wild are tied at two games apiece in this second-round matchup. Shockingly, the Wild have mounted a strong comeback after staring at a 2-0 hole in the series.
Ilya Bryzgalov had gone 0-4 in his first four starts this postseason prior to this recent two-game stretch. He has been phenomenal in the past six periods, allowing just two goals (both in Game 4) to a potent Blackhawks offense. Bryzgalov has been wildly inconsistent this year—as have nearly all of the Wild's goalies—so it's hard to get behind them in this series.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews pointed to his team's lack of intensity as why they lost Games 3 and 4, via Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune:
It's reflective of our intensity. They worked for their chances. They worked for everything they got. We have to do the same. We have to be better.
This series is long from over. That's the good news. We have a chance to redeem ourselves and be better than we have been.
Toews is just one player to watch in the rest of this series. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are veterans that have won before and want to keep winning. The last thing they want is to get upset by a team with occasional issues in net and a propensity to lose their scoring touch in the middle of games.
I think Chicago takes this series.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
This is shaping up to be a rather exciting series, and it's going to come down to the clutch play of the Anaheim Ducks when all is said and done.
Just look to their resilience in Game 3 for proof. Anaheim was on the verge of going down 0-3 in the series before a third-period goalie switch and two power-play goals changed the outcome. Teemu Selanne scored the tie-breaking goal late in the second period that gave the Ducks the lead, but it was the clutch play of goaltender Jonas Hiller in the third that really made the difference.
He made seven saves in the final 9:58 after Frederik Anderson left with a leg injury. Hiller proved that, if necessary, he can step into the net and play well under pressure.
Plus, things are simply looking pretty good for Anaheim right now. Selanne is producing, Corey Perry scored his first goal of the of the series in Game 3 and the Ducks now on a two-game winning streak.
Anaheim will best the Los Angeles Kings.
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
You may have heard a few people saying, “Bruins in five,” or something like that. And you laughed, because this one had the look, the feel, of a long, grueling series. Maybe not a bloodbath (and it hasn’t been), but definitely a struggle.
And here we are: 2-2 going into Game 5. Of course.
This series has been close for a multitude of reasons. For one, Matt Fraser's magnificent overtime goal in Game 4 brought the Boston Bruins back into the series and gave them new life.
The Montreal Canadiens have countered with P.K. Subban, though, and this series has served as part of his coming out party to the rest of the NHL. Everyone already knew he was a quality player, but his performance this postseason has put him on the map as someone who can put people in the seats.
So, who will win the series?
Boston is the No. 1 seed for a reason, but for me, it's hard not to pay attention to how incredible Subban has been. Hockey requires a full-team effort, but there are times when one guy can dictate the outcome. That's the case here. I like the Canadiens to win the series.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
The fat lady is singing for the New York Rangers, and she's putting out a full-length album.
The Rangers somehow escaped Game 5 with a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They hadn't scored a power-play goal in 10 games before Derick Brassard found the back of the net in Game 5, and they'll need to continue capitalizing when on the attack. Seeing as that has been a major issue this postseason, I still don't have the confidence in it just yet.
Pittsburgh missed a chance to score when at a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period of Game 5, but those are opportunities that are going to continue to present themselves. They'll capitalize on those chances in future games. The Penguins have too strong of a roster not to.
It's hard to show confidence in a Rangers team that has difficulty scoring in 5-on-4's and 5-on-3's. That's why I'm going with Pittsburgh.
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