NHL Playoffs 2014: Schedule, Predictions, Odds, TV Info for Entire First Round

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2014

Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Philadelphia. The Hurricanes won 6-5 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola

After a wild end to the regular season, the 2014 NHL playoffs schedule begins on Wednesday, April 16, as 16 of the best teams in the league go to war for the right to hoist the Stanley Cup trophy.

With the Eastern Conference stacked with viable championship contenders and the Western Conference boasting some of the most talented offensive and defensive players in the sport, the dream matchups the postseason produces will have hockey fans excited.

Here is all the vital viewing information, complete schedule, odds and everything else hard-core and casual NHL fans need to enjoy the first-round action.

First-Round Matchups and Predictions
First-Round MatchupPredicted Winner
Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings Boston
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pittsburgh
New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia
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
Source: NHL.com
Complete 2014 NHL Playoffs First-Round Schedule
Eastern Conference
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Friday, April 187:30 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBCSN
Sunday, April 203 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC
Tuesday, April 227:30 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN
Thursday, April 248 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN
*Saturday, April 263 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC
*Monday, April 28TBDBoston at DetroitN/A
*Wednesday, April 30TBDDetroit at BostonN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Wednesday, April 167 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCNBC
Friday, April 187 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCNBC
Sunday, April 207 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealNBCSN
Tuesday, April 227 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealNHL Network
*Thursday, April 247 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayN/A
*Sunday, April 27TBDTampa Bay at MontrealNBCSN
Tuesday, April 29TBDMontreal at Tampa BayN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Wednesday, April 167:30 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN
Saturday, April 197 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN
Monday, April 217 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN
Wednesday, April 237 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN
*Saturday, April 26TBDColumbus at PittsburghN/A
*Monday, April 28TBDPittsburgh at ColumbusN/A
*Wednesday, April 30TBDColumbus at PittsburghN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Thursday, April 177 p.m.Philadelphia at NY RangersCNBC
Sunday, April 20NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC
Tuesday, April 228 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC
Friday, April 257 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC
*Sunday, April 27NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC
*Tuesday, April 29TBDNY Rangers at PhiladelphiaN/A
*Wednesday, April 30TBDPhiladelphia at NY RangersN/A
Western Conference
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Thursday, April 179:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoCNBC
Saturday, April 199:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoNBCSN
Monday, April 217 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaNHL Network
Thursday, April 249:30 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaCNBC
*Saturday, April 26TBDMinnesota at ColoradoN/A
*Monday, April 28TBDColorado at MinnesotaN/A
*Wednesday, April 30TBDMinnesota at ColoradoN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Thursday, April 178 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN
Saturday, April 193 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBC
Monday, April 218:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoCNBC
Wednesday, April 239:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBCSN
*Friday, April 258 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN
*Sunday, April 273 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBC
*Tuesday, April 29TBDChicago at St. LouisN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Wednesday, April 1610 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN
Friday, April 1810 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN
Monday, April 219:30 p.m.Anaheim at DallasNBCSN
Wednesday, April 238 p.m.Anaheim at DallasCNBC
*Friday, April 25 10:30 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN
*Sunday, April 27TBDAnaheim at DallasN/A
*Tuesday, April 29TBDDallas at AnaheimN/A
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Thursday, April 1710:30 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN
Sunday, April 2010 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN
Tuesday, April 2210 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN
Thursday, April 2410:30 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN
*Saturday, April 26TBDLos Angeles at San JoseNBCSN
*Monday, April 28TBDSan Jose at Los AngelesN/A
*Wednesday, April 30TBDLos Angeles at San JoseN/A
Source: NHL.com. (*if necessary) TV Info for extra games released as determined.
2014 Stanley Cup Odds
Team Odds
Boston Bruins +350
St. Louis Blues +600
Pittsburgh Penguins +700
Chicago Blackhawks +800
Anaheim Ducks +900
San Jose Sharks +900
Los Angeles Kings +1000
Colorado Avalanche +1400
Philadelphia Flyers +1800
Detroit Red Wings +2000
Montreal Canadiens +2000
New York Rangers +2000
Tampa Bay Lightning +2800
Minnesota Wild +4000
Dallas Stars +5000
Columbus Blue Jackets +5000
Source: OddsShark.com

Must-Watch Series: New York vs. Philadelphia

When the New York Rangers (45-31-6, 96 points) square off against the Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-9, 93 points) in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, this will be the most hotly contested opening series of the year.

These two Metropolitan Division rivals donโ€™t like each other.

Despite not meeting in the postseason since 1997, these two franchises have faced off each season in heated competition. Both fanbases have learned to hate each other as well, and there is absolutely no love lost between the teams and the cities.

While there will be plenty of bad blood on and off the ice in this series, Rangers alternate captain Marc Staal told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News about his team keeping the focus on winning games:

I think because we needed to, to be honest. You get down to that stretch there the last month, and we knew we had to string some wins together to get into the playoffs. I think when our best was needed, we gave it, and weโ€™ve been giving it for a while now.

Philadelphia is spreading the same message around its locker room, and several players and coaches shared their opinions via the teamโ€™s official Twitter account:

New York made the biggest trade at the 2014 deadline by acquiring veteran forward Martin St. Louis, and the offense has responded. Now that the team has depth with stars like St. Louis, Rick Nash and Brad Richards, the offense is one of the most dangerous in the league.

Add in one of the best goalies in the NHL with Henrik Lundqvist, and the Flyers will be forced to come together as a team and upset their division rivals.

Led by captain Claude Giroux, the Philadelphia offense struggled to start the season but ended up finishing strong by ranking eighth overall in the league with an average of 2.8 goals per game and ranking seventh on the power play.

While the matchup against Lundqvist wonโ€™t be easy, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason has proved to be the steady backstop the franchise desperately needed. Philadelphia boasts the better overall defense, and that will ultimately be the difference in the matchup.

As well as New York has played in 2014, the Flyers finished the regular season strong and will advance to the second round.

Prediction: Philadelphia wins series 4-2

*All stats and information via NHL.com.


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