The NHL regular season finished up on Saturday, and while we already knew what 16 teams would be playing after Friday’s games, it took until the last day to figure out the entire seeding. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday starting with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

Here is a look at the first round matchups including playing dates/time and predictions on who will advance to the next round.

 

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic No. 1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC No. 2)

Game 1 (@TB): Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m.

Game 2 (@TB): Friday, April 12, 7 p.m.

Game 3 (@CBJ): Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m.

Game 4 (@CBJ): Tuesday, April 16, 7 p.m.

Game 5 (@TB): Friday, April 19

Game 6 (@CBJ): Sunday, April 21

Game 7 (@TB): Tuesday, April 23

The Lightning tied an NHL record with their 62nd win of the season on Saturday. Columbus made some good moves before the trade deadline to help them get into the playoffs, however, a first-round matchup against one of the best teams the NHL has ever seen is all but a death sentence. The Lightning swept the season series 3-0 and outscored Columbus 17-3.

Series Odds: Columbus+317/Tampa Bay-400

Tampa Bay Lightning Win Series 4-0

 

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

Game 1 (@BOS): Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m.

Game 2 (@BOS): Saturday, April 13, 8 p.m.

Game 3 (@TOR): Monday, April 15, 7 p.m.

Game 4 (@TOR): Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.

Game 5 (@BOS): Friday, April 19

Game 6 (@TOR): Sunday, April 21

Game 7 (@BOS): Tuesday, April 23

For the second straight year, the Bruins and Maple Leafs will meet in the first round of the playoffs. Boston won the series in seven games last year and this year could be a similar result. Both teams feature good offenses, but the Bruins have the bigger edge on defense. Boston won the regular season series 3-1.

Series Odds: Toronto+125/Boston-145

Boston Bruins Win Series 4-2

 

Washington Capitals (Metro No. 1) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (WC No. 1)

Game 1 (@WSH): Thursday, April 11, 7:30 p.m.

Game 2 (@WSH): Saturday, April 13, 3 p.m.

Game 3 (@CAR): Monday, April 15, 7 p.m.

Game 4 (@CAR): Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.

Game 5 (@WSH): Saturday, April 20

Game 6 (@CAR): Monday, April 22

Game 7 (@WSH): Wednesday, April 24

One of the biggest surprises this season may be the Carolina Hurricanes. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009 when they reached the conference finals. The Canes will be in for a tough matchup against the defending champions. The Capitals swept the season series 4-0.

Series Odds: Carolina+135/Washington-155

Washington Capitals Win Series 4-1

 

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

Game 1 (@NYI): Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.

Game 2 (@NYI): Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.

Game 3 (@PIT): Sunday, April 14, 12 p.m.

Game 4 (@PIT): Tuesday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.

Game 5 (@NYI): Thursday, April 18

Game 6 (@PIT): Saturday, April 20

Game 7 (@NYI): Monday, April 22

Once again the Penguins have to be considered a serious threat in the playoffs with the team getting healthier at the right time. They may not be used to starting a playoff series on the road, but the Islanders aren’t used to starting one at home either (first time hosting a playoff series since 1988). The two teams split the season series 2-2, with two of those games going to a shootout.

Series Odds: Pittsburgh-145/New York+125

Pittsburgh Penguins Win Series 4-3

 

Western Conference

Nashville Predators (Central No. 1) vs. Dallas Stars (WC No. 1)

Game 1 (@NSH): Wednesday, April 10, 9:30 p.m.

Game 2 (@NSH): Saturday, April 13, 6 p.m.

Game 3 (@DAL): Monday, April 15, 9:30 p.m.

Game 4 (@DAL): Wednesday, April 17, 8 p.m.

Game 5 (@NSH): Saturday, April 20

Game 6 (@DAL): Monday, April 22

Game 7 (@NSH): Wednesday, April 24

The defense and goaltending will be the story in this series. Both teams finished the season ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring. Nashville won the season series 3-2.

Series Odds: Dallas+155/Nashville-180

Nashville Predators Win Series 4-2

 

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

Game 1 (@WPG): Wednesday, April 10, 8 p.m.

Game 2 (@WPG): Friday, April 12, 9:30 p.m.

Game 3 (@STL): Sunday, April 14, 7:30 p.m.

Game 4 (@STL): Tuesday, April 16, 9:30 p.m.

Game 5 (@WPG): Thursday, April 18

Game 6 (@STL): Saturday, April 20

Game 7 (@WPG): Monday, April 22

A matchup of two opposites, the Jets finished the season on the decline while the Blues have been the hottest team in hockey since the start of 2019. The Blues were in last place on January 2nd before they began their tremendous run to end the season which landed them the third spot in the Central. Winnipeg won the season series 3-1 (although the teams haven’t played since early December).

Series Odds: St. Louis-120/Winnipeg+100

St. Louis Blues Win Series 4-1

 

Calgary Flames (Pacific No. 1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (WC No. 2)

Game 1 (@CGY): Thursday, April 11, 10 p.m.

Game 2 (@CGY): Saturday, April 13, 10:30 p.m.

Game 3 (@COL): Monday, April 15, 10 p.m.

Game 4 (@COL): Wednesday, April 17, 10 p.m.

Game 5 (@CGY): Friday, April 19

Game 6 (@COL): Sunday, April 21

Game 7 (@CGY): Tuesday, April 23

The Flames are the top team in the Western Conference, but their first-round matchup is anything but a walk in the park. The Avalanche have one of the best top-lines in all of hockey and can score on any team. However, the team will only go as far as that line will take them, as they have struggled at times to find offense elsewhere. If the Avs get Rantanen back, an upset could be possible. Calgary won the season series 3-0, by a total of four goals.

Series Odds: Colorado+170/Calgary-200

Calgary Flames Win Series 4-3

 

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

Game 1 (@SJ): Wednesday, April 10, 10:30 p.m.

Game 2 (@SJ): Friday, April 12, 10:30 p.m.

Game 3 (@VGS): Sunday, April 14, 10 p.m.

Game 4 (@VGS): Tuesday, April 16, 10:30 p.m.

Game 5 (@SJ): Thursday, April 18

Game 6 (@VGS): Sunday, April 21

Game 7 (@SJ): Tuesday, April 23

Vegas took out San Jose last year in the second round of the playoffs. This year, the Sharks could get their revenge. The Sharks finished tied for second in the league with 3.52 goals per game and their power play percentage is sixth-best. If Vegas is going to win this series, it will because of the goaltending of Fleury. The teams split the season series 2-2.

Series Odds: Vegas-110/San Jose-110

San Jose Sharks Win Series 4-2

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