After a grueling six-month schedule and a total of 1,230 games, the NHL playoff matchups are now set as the postseason faces off on Wednesday, April 12th. Sixteen teams will be squaring off for the Stanley Cup with the winner having to win 16 playoff games to hoist the silverware. Below is a quick look at the first round playoff matchups.
Chicago Blackhawks (50-23-9, 109 points) vs Nashville Predators (41-29-12, 94 points)
The Blackhawks won the Central Division again this season and topped the Western Conference. They’ll be facing Nashville, who finished fourth in the Central and reached the playoffs as the eighth seed in the West with the second wildcard position. Chicago won the season series 4-1 and outscored Nashville 18-10. This series gets underway Thursday, April 13th with Nashville being the worst road team of the 16 playoff participants.
Minnesota Wild (49-25-8, 106 points) vs St. Louis Blues (46-29-7, 99 points)
Minnesota finished second in the Central Division and the Western Conference while St. Louis was third in the Central and fifth in the West. The Blues won the season series 3-2 with one victory coming in a shootout. Minnesota outscored them 14-11 in the series though. This matchup kicks off on Wednesday, April 12th.
Anaheim Ducks (46-23-13, 105 points) vs Calgary Flames (45-33-4, 94 points)
Anaheim won the Pacific Division for the fifth straight season and enters the playoffs as the third seed in the West. Calgary placed fourth in the Pacific and is the seventh-seed in the West. The Ducks won the season series 4-1 and outscored the Flames 17-14. The series gets underway on Thursday, April 13th.
Edmonton Oilers (47-26-9, 103 points) vs San Jose Sharks (46-29-7, 99 points)
Edmonton finished as runners up in the Pacific Division and as the fourth seed in the West. This is their first playoff appearance since going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2005/06. San Jose finished third in the Pacific and sixth in the West. The Oilers won the season series 3-1-1 and outscored the Sharks 16-13 with San Jose winning a game in overtime. The series faces off on Wednesday, April 12th.
Montreal Canadiens (47-26-9, 103 points) vs New York Rangers (48-28-6, 102 points)
Montreal won the Atlantic Division this season and finished as the fourth seed in the East. The Rangers placed fourth in the Metropolitan Division, just a point behind the Habs and are the fifth seed in the East as the first wildcard team. Montreal won the season series 3-0 and outscored the Rangers 12-7. One of the wins came in a shootout. This series starts on Wednesday, April 12th.
Ottawa Senators (44-28-10, 98 points) vs Boston Bruins (44-31-7, 95 points)
Ottawa finished in second place in the Atlantic Division and as the sixth seed in the East while Boston was right behind them in third in the Atlantic and seventh in the East. Ottawa swept the season series 4-0 and outscored the Bruins 12-6 with one win coming in a shootout. The series will begin on Wednesday, April 12th.
Washington Capitals (55-19-8, 118 points) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (40-27-15, 95 points)
Washington finished as the President’s Trophy winners for having the best overall record during the season. Needless to say, they won the Metropolitan Division and the East. Toronto finished fourth in the Atlantic and eighth in the East as the second wildcard team. They won just one of their final four games of the season, meaning they must face the Capitals instead of Ottawa. Washington won the season series 2-1 and outscored the Leafs 12-10 with one win coming in overtime. This series starts Thursday, April 13th.
Pittsburgh Penguins (50-21-11, 111 points) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (50-24-8, 108 points)
Pittsburgh finished as runners up in the Metropolitan Division and as the second seed in the East. Columbus was right behind them in third in the Metropolitan and third in the East. The teams split the season series 2-2 with each team winning a game in regulation and overtime. However, Columbus outscored the defending Stanley Cup champs 13-10. The Blue Jackets lost six of their final seven regular season games. The series faces off on Wednesday, April 12th.