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Here are your first round matchups

Apr 13, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

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With the Detroit Red Wings beating the St. Louis Blues, we now know which teams will meet in the first round.

If you’re not familiar with the new playoff format, the second and third place teams in each division will face each other while the division winners will play against the Wild Card squads. As you might imagine, the teams with the best record in their respective Conferences are paired with the worst Wild Card teams.

We’ll have plenty of in-depth coverage of the upcoming playoff series in the days to come, but for now, here are your first round matchups:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston Bruins versus Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive campaign. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins have secured the Presidents’ Trophy for the second time in the franchise’s history. Two of the eight teams that have won the Presidents’ Trophy in the salary cap era have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

Montreal Canadiens versus Tampa Bay Lightning

It remains to be seen who will have home ice advantage in this series. Montreal finished the campaign with 100 points, but Tampa Bay is at 99 going into its game against Washington this afternoon. The Canadiens control the tiebreaker, so an overtime/shootout loss wouldn’t be good enough for the Lightning.

Pittsburgh Penguins versus Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs for just the second time in the franchise’s history and they are searching for their first postseason win. In Pittsburgh, all eyes will be on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after his string of disappointing showings in the playoffs. The Penguins went to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009 and won it all the second time around, but they got a lot to prove going into the 2014 postseason.

New York Rangers versus Philadelphia Flyers

Goaltending could be the X-Factor in this one. The Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies of this era while Steve Mason has only played in four postseason contests and has lost them all. Philadelphia has also lost eight straight games at Madison Square Garden, which is a trend they need to snap given that the Rangers have home ice advantage.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Anaheim Ducks versus Dallas Stars

Anaheim won the Pacific Division for the second straight season — although obviously the division changed this season. The Ducks lost in the first round in 2013 despite their strong regular season, so they have plenty to prove going into this series. This will also be Teemu Selanne‘s last postseason run before retirement. Meanwhile, Dallas is back in the playoffs after a five-year absence.

San Jose Sharks versus Los Angeles Kings

Will this be the year that San Jose’s regular season success translates into a Stanley Cup championship? This will be San Jose’s 10th consecutive season in the playoffs, but the franchise doesn’t have anything to show for it yet. The Kings had the inferior regular season record, but they won the Cup in 2012 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2013.

St. Louis Blues versus Chicago Blackhawks

Lots of star power in this one, but how much of it will be healthy? Chicago will get Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back for Game 1, but the Blues have a lot list of injured forwards, including Patrik Berglund, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Sobotka, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Colorado Avalanche versus Minnesota Wild

The Avalanche’s turnaround under rookie coach and Hall of Famer Patrick Roy has been spectacular, but can they take that momentum into the playoffs? The Wild are going into this series as the underdogs, but expectations will still be high for them to perform in the second season of the Ryan Suter/Zach Parise era.

  1. areaman714 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    We know . . . dates and times dammit!

  2. pone27 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Love that the Hawks got the Blues, and that’s only because the Blues are riddled with injuries.

    Not too sure if Tazer and Kaner will be at their peak performance the first 2 games. Regardless, this is best time of the year. Lets Go Hawks!!!

    • prd797 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      I don’t love any of the potential matchups. Overlooking the Blues would be foolish, even despite their injuries and recent stretch of poor performances.

      I think it will be a very good series. Really hope there won’t be any cheap garbage from either side to sour the moment.

      • chicagobtech - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        prd797, a repeat of the level of respect from last season’s Blackhawks/Wild series would be nice. Hard-fought games with discipline, they were great to watch.

  3. cybernetikghost - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Hawks lucked out to play against the injured Blues. Colorado would’ve taken that series, no doubt.

    • prd797 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      Or maybe Colorado lucked out to avoid the Hawks?

      We’ll see how it works out after this round is over…Colorado and Chicago may yet meet in these playoffs.

      • titansrbeast - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        I would say Chicago lucked out, Colorado beat them 4 out of 5 in the regular season. I know it’s a lot different in the playoffs but still, you can’t ignore that dominance.

      • prd797 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Ah, so winning the regular season will equate to winning in the postseason? Guess Blues fans should be relieved to hear that.

        Take a read of this article and look at some of the advanced stats if you want to talk ‘domination.’

        http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/colorado-avalanche-s-success-is-unsustainable–trending-topics-205937984.html

        ‘The Avs, somehow, went 4-1 against them this year, but is that past performance any kind of decent indicator of future results? Well, probably not, because even-strength corsi in those five games was a combined 266-160 in Chicago’s favor, or 62.4 percent. Which is so far beyond dominant as to be cartoonish. District Five didn’t struggle as much in the first 40 minutes of The Mighty Ducks as the Avs did this season against the Blackhawks, and yet they won four games out of five, because sometimes things go that way and hockey is a funny old game.’

        Colorado has been riding Varlamov all year, and it has certainly worked for them to get to where they are. But, if he is anything less than outstanding, I think a Duchene-less Colorado will struggle. Again, we’ll see what happens if the two teams do actually meet.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Apr 13, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        Regarding the Aves “owning” the Hawks this year, a big factor was Varlemov playing outstanding. the 5 on 5 corsi puck possession #s strongly favored the Hawks.

        Guess will see if the series happens, then what happens;)

  4. drewzducks - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Congrats on the Prez Trophy B’s. And your reward is probably their worst possible matchup. As a lifelong pessimist, a one and done wouldn’t shock me.

    • tdrusher225 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      I’m with you man. I love the Bruins but I’m a skeptic at heart and I’m extremely skeptical of them making a deep run this year with the matchups they’ll have to face, with Detroit probably being one of the toughest.

      • laxnhockey - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        As long as they keep sending the pylon Chara on the ice in critical situations, you can continue to expect him to flounder against these better teams.

      • tdrusher225 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Oh you mean one of the best defensemen in NHL? Yeah he’s totally the problem.

  5. strictlythedanks - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Colorado: Your team has been rewarded as the division champ of the NHL’s toughest division. This is simply karma paying off for you guys being the smart ones to legalize weed.

    Hopefully my Wild can pull it off in that series, but if not I will be pulling for you guys.

    • charlieconway96 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      In a related story: “Colorado wins division! Denver too stoned to care.”

    • endusersolutions2013 - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Wonder what the effect on DUI’s will be over the next 2 years. At this point I’m glad i DON’T drive in Colorado.

      • strictlythedanks - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM

        Well considering less people will be drinking because a better, far safer drug is now legal, I for one think the roads will are actually safer.

  6. slysipops - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    there were years when the REDWINGS , as a dominant force in the league, had a horrible record against a struggling ( almost doormat ) BLACKHAWKS squad. it didn’t at all stop them from doing it all in the SCP .last year the WINGS were not considered a force at all but, gave the HAWKS ( the powerhouse and seemingly unstoppable team last season ) the most trouble and almost ousted them from the playoffs! it all depends on who gets hot and who gets coached the best. also the goalie factor is very important… some choke and some rise up ! it has been said by very knowledgable hockey people in the past…………. once the second season starts …all the stats go out the window !

  7. vstar1us - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Can’t wait , Go Wild…..

  8. savior72 - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    You’re welcome Chicago. – A Blues fan.

  9. joey4id - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    My picks to go to the second are Wings, Habs, Pens, Rangers, Blues, Avs, Ducks and Kings

  10. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    I can’t wait for the Sharks and Kings, especially!

  11. bobc74 - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    As far as Fleury goes, guess who stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night and so far today has stopped 8 of 8 against the Toronto Marlies? That’s right, Tomas Vokoun!

    • cofran2004 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      I HATE the pens, but I’m pretty happy for Vokoun. Glad he’s recovering well, no one deserves to have their career ended that way.

    • laxnhockey - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      Toronto Marlies? You’re basing his return on stopping eight shots against the Marlies?

  12. slaugin - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Bruins in 6. Not gonna be a cake walk but these guys are too seasoned and hungry after coming up just short last year to disappoint. Young D like Krug, Dougie and Bart all have experience under their Belt & the 3rd line is actually productive this year.

  13. greenopoly2013 - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    not many give the AV’s much of a chance…they are playing well going into the playoffs (better than most) I just like that people are talking about them for a change..means they are doing something right..especially now…DON’T count them out yet! #whynotus GO AVS!

  14. sprtsfan1 - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    LOL @ Avs fans, temper that enthusiasms, I still say you’re last year’s Minnesota Wild. No playoff experience will bite you. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1 and done against a feisty Wild team. If not, no further than second round once you play a team with playoff experience.

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