The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs are finally here.
Sixteen teams are about to enter a grueling, exhausting four-round tournament for the greatest trophy in sports.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the defending champions and will attempt to become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winners since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.
The road back to the Cup Final won’t be easy for Chicago as it has to play the St. Louis Blues in Round 1. The Blues were among the league’s elite teams throughout the 2013-14 campaign until they ended the regular season with six straight regulation losses.
In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins are the No. 1 seed as Presidents’ Trophy winners and will battle the Detroit Red Wings in Round 1. These Original 6 rivals haven’t met in the playoffs since 1957. The Bruins’ last three first-round series have ended in overtime of Game 7, and they are 2-1 in those matchups.
Without further ado, let’s look at the schedule for the entire opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Boston Bruins (Atlantic 1, East 1) vs. Detroit Red Wings (Wild Card 2)
Note: NESN will broadcast Games 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7.
Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic 2) vs. Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic 3)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Metro 1, East 2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card 1)
New York Rangers (Metro 2) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Metro 3)
Anaheim Ducks (Pacific 1, West 1) vs. Dallas Stars (Wild Card 2)
San Jose Sharks (Pacific 2) vs. Los Angeles Kings (Pacific 3)
Colorado Avalanche (Central 1, West 2) vs. Minnesota Wild (Wild Card 1)
St. Louis Blues (Central 2) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Central 3)
All series photos via NHL.com