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NHL Playoffs Bracket 2021: Dates, Matchups, Game Times and TV Schedule Info

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 14, 2021

David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 5-1 on Thursday to close the regular season.

Now attention turns toward the postseason, which will begin Saturday when the Boston Bruins visit the Washington Capitals.

Here's a look at the entire first-round schedule with all the known dates, times (ET), locations and television information at this time, via NHL.com. Games later in the best-of-seven series still have some information to be determined.

You can also find some picks for each divisional playoff bracket below.

  

East Division

No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 4 New York Islanders

Game 1: Sunday, May 16, 12 p.m. at Pittsburgh (NBC)

Game 2: Tuesday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. at Pittsburgh (NBCSN)

Game 3: Thursday, May 20, 7 p.m. at New York (NBCSN)

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Game 4: Saturday, May 22, 3 p.m. at New York (NBC)

Game 5: Monday, May 24 at Pittsburgh

Game 6: Wednesday, May 26 at New York

Game 7: Friday, May 28 at Pittsburgh

     

No. 2 Washington Capitals vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins

Game 1: Saturday, May 15, 7:15 p.m. at Washington (NBC)

Game 2: Monday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. at Washington (NBCSN)

Game 3: Wednesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m. at Boston (NBCSN)

Game 4: Friday, May 21, 6:30 p.m. at Boston (NBCSN)

Game 5: Sunday, May 23 at Washington

Game 6: Tuesday, May 25 at Boston

Game 7: Thursday, May 27 at Washington

      

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators

Game 1: Monday, May 17, 8 p.m. at Carolina (CNBC)

Game 2: Wednesday, May 19, 8 p.m. at Carolina (CNBC)

Game 3: Friday, May 21, 7 p.m. at Nashville (USA)

Game 4: Sunday, May 23 at Nashville

Game 5: Tuesday, May 25 at Carolina

Game 6: Thursday, May 27 at Nashville

Game 7: Saturday, May 29 at Carolina

     

No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1: Sunday, May 16, 7:30 p.m. at Florida (NBCSN)

Game 2: Tuesday, May 18, 8 p.m. at Florida (CNBC)

Game 3: Thursday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. at Tampa Bay (USA)

Game 4: Saturday, May 22, 12:30 p.m. at Tampa Bay (CNBC)

Game 5: Monday, May 24 at Florida

Game 6: Wednesday, May 26 at Tampa Bay

Game 7: Friday, May 28 at Florida

         

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 4 Montreal Canadiens

Game 1: Thursday, May 20, 7:30 p.m. at Toronto (NHL Network)

Game 2: Saturday, May 22, 7 p.m. at Toronto (CNBC)

Game 3: Monday, May 24 at Montreal

Game 4: Tuesday, May 25 at Montreal

Game 5: Thursday, May 27 at Toronto

Game 6: Saturday, May 29 at Montreal

Game 7: Friday, May 31 at Toronto

      

No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets

Game 1: Wednesday, May 19, 9 p.m. at Edmonton (NBCSN)

Game 2: Friday, May 21, 9 p.m. at Edmonton (NBCSN)

Game 3: Sunday, May 23 at Winnipeg

Game 4: Monday, May 24 at Winnipeg

Game 5: Wednesday, May 26 at Edmonton

Game 6: Friday, May 28 at Winnipeg

Game 7: Sunday, May 30 at Edmonton

         

West Division

No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues

Game 1: Monday, May 17, 10 p.m. at Colorado (NBCSN)

Game 2: Wednesday, May 19, 10:30 p.m. at Colorado (CNBC)

Game 3: Friday, May 21, 9:30 p.m. at St. Louis (USA)

Game 4: Sunday, May 23 at St. Louis

Game 5: Tuesday, May 25 at Colorado

Game 6: Thursday, May 27 at St. Louis

Game 7: Saturday, May 29 at Colorado

          

No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild

Game 1: Sunday, May 16, 3 p.m. at Vegas (NBC)

Game 2: Tuesday, May 18, 10 p.m. at Vegas (NBCSN)

Game 3: Thursday, May 20, 9:30 p.m. at Minnesota (NBCSN)

Game 4: Saturday, May 22, 8 p.m. at Minnesota (NBC)

Game 5: Monday, May 24 at Vegas

Game 6: Wednesday, May 26 at Minnesota

Game 7: Friday, May 28 at Vegas

           

East Division

The New York Islanders enter the playoffs having lost four of five games, including two to a Buffalo Sabres team that finished with a league-low 37 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, have won nine of 11 games, and they'll have a healthy Evgeni Malkin for the playoffs after he missed 23 regular-season matchups. The Pens are the pick.

The other first-round matchup will be a gauntlet. The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins are prime candidates to go to seven games in the first round, especially after splitting their eight-game regular-season series evenly.

This is a coin-flip pick and one where the ultimate choice will be the team with home-ice advantage in the Caps.

As for the East final, the Pens have been unstoppable at home (22-4-1), and the return of Malkin can only help overcome a tough Capitals offense. Pittsburgh, with an NHL-leading 196 goals per game, should have the firepower to get it done.

           

North Division

The Toronto Maple Leafs arguably have the easiest first-round draw, as they face a Montreal Canadiens team that has won just 24 of 56 regular-season games and enters the playoffs on a five-game losing streak. The Maple Leafs should advance.

The Edmonton Oilers also face a reeling team in the Winnipeg Jets, who are 2-9 in their last 11 games. The Oilers should also move on.

That should set up a dramatic Maple Leafs-Oilers series to go to the semifinals. The series won't be short on superstars, with Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Darnell Nurse sharing the same ice with Maple Leafs stars Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner.

In the end, McDavid is the best of them all, and the bet is on the league point leader (104 in 55 games) to carry the Oilers through.

             

Central Division

The Preds may have ended their regular season with a pair of wins against their first-round playoff opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes, but they lost the first six against them in this regular-season series. Carolina will simply be too tough for a Preds team that only outscored its opponents by two goals this year.

The Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning series is a matchup between a hot, upstart team and the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Lightning may have a litany of superstars who know what it takes to hoist the trophy, but Florida has won six straight and sports a balanced offense with six players who have scored 14 or more goals. Florida will move on.

However, the Hurricanes may simply be too tough for Florida. Carolina largely dominated Florida this season, winning six of eight games. The two they lost were tied going into regulation. Carolina will push through to the league semifinals.

            

West Division

With all due respect to the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, a West Division final showdown between the Avs and Vegas Golden Knights seems inevitable.

The two teams tied for the league point lead at 82, with Colorado edging Vegas on the tiebreaker. Colorado is rolling into the playoffs on a five-game winning streak, and Vegas holds an NHL-best plus-67 goal differential.

A potential Avs-Golden Knights series could end up being the de-facto Stanley Cup, with the winner eventually taking home the trophy.

It's a hard series to predict. They played each other eight times, with each team winning four. It feels like a 50-50 series to project, but the guess here is that the Avs' home-ice advantage proves to be the difference in a seven-game win.

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