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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Full Schedule, TV Info and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 8, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) carries the puck around Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Stanley Cup playoffs picture became much clearer after five teams secured berths in the round of 16 Friday. 

Additional clarity for the first-round matchups will be provided Saturday when the top seeds in each conference will be determined. 

Philadelphia and Tampa Bay will square off for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, which comes with a first-round matchup against Montreal, who knocked out No. 5 seed Pittsburgh in four games. 

The winner of the round-robin meeting between Colorado and Vegas will get the other surprise first-round participant, 12th-seeded Chicago. 

The loser of the Eastern Conference matchup will be penciled in for a matchup with the winner of the Toronto-Columbus series, while the No. 2 seed in the West is set for a showdown with No. 11 Arizona. 

Sunday's round-robin games between Boston and Washington and St. Louis and Dallas will determine the other four first-round matchups.

         

Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule

Saturday, August 8

Round-Robin Game: Vegas vs. Colorado (3 p.m. ET, NBC)

Round-Robin Game: Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay (8 p.m. ET, NBC)

    

Sunday, August 9

Round-Robin Game: Boston vs. Washington (Noon ET, NBCSN)

Round-Robin Game: Dallas vs. St. Louis (3 p.m. ET, NBC)

Game 5: Columbus vs. Toronto (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

                       

Predictions

Lightning Take Top Seed In East

Tampa Bay is one victory away from claiming the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight season. 

The Lightning have fought hard without Steven Stamkos to win a pair of one-goal round-robin games, and they have an edge over Philadelphia after winning both regular-season contests. 

In those two victories, Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away 53 shots and shutout the Flyers in the January 11 triumph. 

Jon Cooper's side has also benefited from scoring depth, as five different skaters have struck for a tally against Washington and Boston. 

Tampa Bay also has a deep defensive unit headlined by Ryan McDonagh and Victor Hedman that can match up well with Philadelphia's red-hot line of Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny. 

If the strong defense limits those chances and Vasilevskiy comes up big in net, Tampa Bay could have the perfect formula to secure the No. 1 seed, and then, avoid a first-round upset. 

            

At Least One Double-Digit Seed Goes Distance in 1st Round

Arizona, Chicago and Montreal all have one thing in common. 

Each of the three double-digit seeds benefited from strong goalie play to knock off higher seeds in the qualifying round. 

Darcy Kuemper, Corey Crawford and Carey Price are all capable of extending their form into the first round, but they will have to do so against more prolific attacks. 

The Coyotes and Blackhawks are looking at potential matchups with Colorado and Vegas, while the Canadiens will face the winner of Saturday's Tampa Bay-Philadelphia contest. 

The pair of Western Conference sides may be best suited to take a first-round series the distance and even win. 

Chicago still has a handful of players on its roster that won championships in the last decade, one of whom is Crawford.

Crawford has a 2.34 goals against average and .918 save percentage in 91 postseason appearances. 

Arizona could ride the hot hand in Kuemper, who turned away 152 of 163 shots sent in by Nashville in four qualifying round contests. 

Kuemper had a 2-1 regular-season mark against Colorado and Vegas and conceded two goals in those matchups. 

If the Coyotes goalie continues to shine and they get more out of Taylor Hall, Phil Kessel and their top-end attackers, they could have the best chance to spring an upset. 

          

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference

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