NHL Playoffs Bracket 2019: Dates, Matchups, Game Times and TV Schedule Info

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 7, 2019

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 25: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a shootout goal during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at Amalie Arena on February 25, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning are clear favorites to win the 2019 Stanley Cup, per Vegas Insider, but 15 other teams have different ideas as the NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday.

Games will be televised on NBC, NBC Sports, CNBC, USA Network, NHL Network, Sportsnet networks and CBC.

                 

NHL Bracket

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 1, Atlantic) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (No. 2, Wild Card)

Boston Bruins (No. 2, Atlantic) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 3, Atlantic)

Washington Capitals (No. 1, Metropolitan) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (No. 1, Wild Card)

New York Islanders (No. 2, Metropolitan) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 3, Metropolitan)

         

Western Conference

Calgary Flames (No. 1, Pacific) vs. Colorado Avalanche (No. 2, Wild Card)

San Jose Sharks (No. 2, Pacific) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (No. 3, Pacific)

Nashville Predators (No. 1, Central) vs. Dallas Stars (No. 1, Wild Card)

Winnipeg Jets (No. 2, Central) vs. St. Louis Blues (No. 3, Central)

         

First-Round Schedule and Television Information (All Times Eastern)

Eastern Conference: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Game 1: Blue Jackets at Lightning at 7 p.m. on USA

Game 2: Blue Jackets at Lightning at 7 p.m. on CNBC

Game 3: Lightning at Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 4: Lightning at Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. on CNBC

*Game 5: Blue Jackets at Lightning at TBD

*Game 6: Lightning at Blue Jackets at TBD

*Game 7: Blue Jackets at Lightning at TBD

*If necessary

         

Eastern Conference: Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Game 1: Maple Leafs at Bruins at 7 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 2: Maple Leafs at Bruins at 8 p.m. on NBC

Game 3: Bruins at Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. on CBC

Game 4: Bruins at Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. on CBC

*Game 5: Maple Leafs at Bruins at TBD

*Game 6: Bruins at Maple Leafs at TBD

*Game 7: Maple Leafs at Bruins at TBD

         

Eastern Conference: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Game 1: Hurricanes at Capitals at 7:30 p.m. on USA

Game 2: Hurricanes at Capitals at 3 p.m. on NBC

Game 3: Capitals at Hurricanes at 7 p.m. on CNBC

Game 4: Capitals at Hurricanes at 7 p.m. on SN360

*Game 5: Hurricanes at Capitals at TBD

*Game 6: Capitals at Hurricanes at TBD

*Game 7: Hurricanes at Capitals at TBD

    

Eastern Conference: New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Game 1: Penguins at Islanders at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 2: Penguins at Islanders at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 3: Islanders at Penguins at 12 p.m. on NBC

Game 4: Islanders at Penguins at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN

*Game 5: Penguins at Islanders at TBD

*Game 6: Islanders at Penguins at TBD

*Game 7: Penguins at Islanders at TBD

       

Western Conference: Calgary Flames vs. Colorado Avalanche

Game 1: Avalanche at Flames at 10 p.m. on SN

Game 2: Avalanche at Flames at 10:30 p.m. on SN

Game 3: Flames at Avalanche at 10 p.m. on CNBC

Game 4: Flames at Avalanche at 10 p.m. on NBCSN

*Game 5: Avalanche at Flames at TBD 

*Game 6: Flames at Avalanche at TBD 

*Game 7: Avalanche at Flames at TBD 

     

Western Conference: San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Game 1: Golden Knights at Sharks at 10:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 2: Golden Knights at Sharks at 10:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 3: Sharks at Golden Knights at 10 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 4: Sharks at Golden Knights at 10:30 p.m. on NBCSN

*Game 5: Golden Knights at Sharks at TBD

*Game 6: Sharks at Golden Knights at TBD

*Game 7: Golden Knights at Sharks at TBD

     

Western Conference: Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars

Game 1: Stars at Predators at 9:30 p.m. on USA

Game 2: Stars at Predators at 6 p.m. on CNBC

Game 3: Predators at Stars at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Game 4: Predators at Stars at 8 p.m. on USA

*Game 5: Stars at Predators at TBD

*Game 6: Predators at Stars at TBD

*Game 7: Stars at Predators at TBD

     

Western Conference: Winnipeg Jets vs. St. Louis Blues

Game 1: Blues at Jets at 8 p.m. on SN

Game 2: Blues at Jets at 9:30 p.m. on SN

Game 3: Jets at Blues at 7:30 p.m. on CNBC

Game 4: Jets at Blues at 9:30 p.m. on CNBC

*Game 5: Blues at Jets at TBD

*Game 6: Jets at Blues at TBD

*Game 7: Blues at Jets at TBD

        

Storylines to Watch

Can Anyone Beat the Lightning?

The Lightning had a legitimate chance to upend the legendary 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for the most points in league history but fell just short with 128. They did tie the regular-season record for most wins (62).

Tampa Bay is still the clear favorite to win it all, however, thanks to one of the best rosters the sport has seen in years.

Right wing Nikita Kucherov leads the league in assists (86) and points (128). Steven Stamkos scored a team-leading 45 goals. Six Lightning players are in the top 25 in plus-minus, led by defenseman Ryan McDonagh at plus-38, good enough for second in the league.

Tampa Bay lost two games in a row just twice and haven't done so since Feb. 7. The Lightning also have four win streaks of seven games or more and don't have a losing record against any Eastern Conference team.

Their regular-season dominance doesn't necessarily foreshadow a Stanley Cup win: the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings went 62-13-7 and lost in the Western Conference semifinal, for instance. However, it will be very difficult for any team to knock off Tampa Bay in a seven-game series.

            

The Scorching-Hot St. Louis Blues

At the midway point of the season, the St. Louis Blues were 17-20-4 and well on their way to a postseason on the couch. Their fortunes have changed quickly, however, thanks in part to an 11-game win streak that brought them back to relevance.

St. Louis scuffled through a 4-4-2 span late in the season, but the Blues have since rebounded and gone 8-1-2 to close the season.

The question is whether the Blues can keep their second-half momentum up in the playoffs. They've unquestionably been the second-best team in the league since the midway point, but the postseason is a different animal. And the Blues have not done well there, failing to make the Stanley Cup since 1970.

The difference this season is the emergence of the hottest goalie in the league: Jordan Binnington.

The 25-year-old is 24-5-1 with a .927 save percentage and 1.89 GAA. The Blues also have a balanced scoring attack, with 15 players who scored eight or more goals.

The Blues have a tough draw, as they'll likely need to beat the 2018 West finalist Winnipeg Jets and 2017 Western Conference champion Nashville Predators just to get to the conference final. However, a hot team with an invincible goalie is a tough draw for anyone.

      

The Original Six Series

The Toronto Maple Leafs want to exorcize their demons against the Boston Bruins, who have beaten them twice in the first round this decade.

The 2013 series won't be forgotten any time soon. After trailing three games to one, the Maple Leafswho hadn't made the playoffs in seven yearstied the series at three and took a 4-1 third-period lead in Game 7.

However, the Bruins scored three third-period goals in the final 11 minutes before netting the game-winner in overtime.

Boston also won a first-round series, four games to three.

The circumstances are a bit different this time around. The Maple Leafs have the services of center John Tavares, the ex-New York Islander who is third in the league with 47 goals. The high-scoring Leafs are also second in the Eastern Conference with 286 goals.

The Bruins won't go away quietly, however. They beat the Leafs in three of four games this season and are listed second on Vegas Insider's odds list.

Still, this series has a good chance to go to seven games, like the other two playoff contests between these teams.

Related

    What Pens Need to Become Championship Team Again

    NHL logo
    NHL

    What Pens Need to Become Championship Team Again

    Adam Gretz
    via ProHockeyTalk

    Hall Healthy, Primed to Help Devils Return to Playoffs

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Hall Healthy, Primed to Help Devils Return to Playoffs

    NHL.com
    via NHL.com

    Three Fuzzy Questions for the Sharks

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Three Fuzzy Questions for the Sharks

    James O'Brien
    via ProHockeyTalk

    PK Subban, Lindsey Vonn Engaged 💍

    NHL logo
    NHL

    PK Subban, Lindsey Vonn Engaged 💍

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report