Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hockey's Blue Bloods Headline 2012 Playoff Field


By Kyle Almekinder @almek14


If the conference leaders meet in the Stanley Cup Finals, it could
feel like 1994 all over again... with a different result. (AP)


Several of the National Hockey League’s most traditional teams will face off in this year’s playoffs, including the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings. The defending Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins are also back in the playoffs vying to keep the title in Beantown. Other recent successful teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks (last year’s runners up as well as this year’s President’s Trophy winner) are battling to hoist Lord Stanley’s Trophy.



Several surprise teams are also in the playoffs, most notably the Florida Panthers and the St. Louis Blues. The Panthers, who finished last in the Southeast Division last year, won their division for the first time in franchise history with 94 points. They are led by left winger Tomas Fleischmann who had 27 goals and 34 assists this season and veteran netminder Jose Theodore, rebounding from a dismal statistical year to win 22 games while boasting 2.46 goals against average - his best since the 2007-2008 season. The Panthers face the New Jersey Devils as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.


The St. Louis Blues are currently involved in a storybook year; then-head coach Davis Payne was fired on November 6 with just a 6-7-0 record thirteen games into the season. The Blues hired Ken Hitchcock, former Dallas Stars coach who led his squad to the 1999 Stanley Cup. Since the coaching change, the Blues went 43-15-11 and won the Central Division for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. The Blues’ scoring is low albeit balanced while their defense gains the headlines. Duo Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak have combined for 15 shutouts, the most in club history as well as the most in the NHL since the 1969-1970 Chicago Blackhawks. Both goalies rank in the Top 5 this season in goals against average. The Blues square off against the seventh-seeded San Jose Sharks. 


As the two above teams proved this season, anything is possible in the NHL. The 2012 playoffs will likely be no exception.

The NHL Playoff format is ‘lowest seed remaining’, much like the NFL Playoffs. There is no set bracket for the playoffs and people should check schedule times for the next rounds.

The NHL quarterfinal matchups are listed below:

2012 EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS 

#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers, NHL Network, CBC 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa, CBC, CNBC 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa, CBC, CNBC 
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa, TBD 
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Ottawa at NY Rangers, TBD 

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. Washington at Boston, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston, NBC, CBC 
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston, NBC, CBC 
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Boston at Washington, TBD 
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Washington at Boston, TBD 

#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils
Friday, April 13, 2012 7 p.m. New Jersey at Florida, NHL Network, TSN
Sunday, April 15, 2012 7:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey, NHL Network, TSN 
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey, NHL Network, TSN 
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida, NHL Network, TSN 
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Florida at New Jersey, TBD 
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD New Jersey at Florida, TBD 

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Sunday, April 15, 2012 3 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, NBC, TSN 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
*Friday, April 20, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, TBD 
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, TBD 


2012 WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS 

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver, CBC, NBC Sports Network 
Friday, April 13, 2012 10 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver, CBC, NBC Sports Network 
Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:30 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver, TBD 
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Vancouver at Los Angeles, TBD 
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver, TBD 

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose Sharks 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis, CNBC, TSN 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis, CNBC, TSN 
Monday, April 16, 2012 10 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:30 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis, CNBC, TSN 
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD St. Louis at San Jose, TBD 
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD San Jose at St. Louis, TBD 

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, April 12, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago, CNBC, TSN 
Thursday, April 19, 2012 8 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago, CNBC, TSN 
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix, NBC Sports Network, TSN 
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD Phoenix at Chicago, TBD 
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Chicago at Phoenix, TBD 

#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville, CNBC, CBC 
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Nashville, CNBC, CBC 
Sunday, April 15, 2012 Noon Nashville at Detroit, NBC, CBC 
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:30 p.m. Nashville at Detroit, NBC Sports Network, CBC 
*Friday, April 20, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville, CNBC, CBC 
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Nashville at Detroit, TBD 
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Detroit at Nashville, TBD

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