2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 1 matchups, schedule

Can the Pittsburgh Penguins do it again? (Getty)
Can the Pittsburgh Penguins do it again? (Getty)

This, here, pleases us to no end.

The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs have arrived (finally), and the schedules, matchups and bracket have now officially been finalized for the 16 teams preparing to wage war over a shimmering 35-pound hunk of silver.

Here’s how it shakes down for Round 1:

(Oh, and all times are ET).

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Bracket

Tampa Bay Lightning (1) – 113 points
New Jersey Devils (WC2) – 97 points

Season series: Devils win 3-0-0
Oct. 17: Devils 5, Lightning 4 (SO)
Feb. 17: Devils 4, Lightning 3
March 24: Devils 2, Lightning 1

Highlights
Lightning: Tampa Bay’s 290 goals are the fifth most in a season by a team in the post-lockout era.
Devils: Hart Trophy candidate Taylor Hall dragged the Devils into the postseason for the first time in six years with 39 goals and 93 points.

Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, April 12 (7 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, April 14 (3 p.m.)
Game 3: Monday, April 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Game 4: Thursday, April 18 (7:30 p.m.)
*Game 5: Saturday, April 21 (TBD)
*Game 6: Monday, April 23 (TBD)
*Game 7: Wednesday, April 25 (TBD)

Boston Bruins (2) – 112 points
Toronto Maple Leafs (3) – 105 points

Season series: Maple Leafs win 3-1-0
Nov. 10: Maple Leafs 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
Nov. 11: Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 1
Feb. 3: Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1
Feb. 24: Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3

Highlights
Bruins:
Maple Leafs: Behind Frederik Andersen’s record 38 wins, Toronto racked up the most points in franchise 101-year history.

Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, April 12 (7 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, April 14 (8 p.m.)
Game 3: Monday, April 16 (7 p.m.)
Game 4: Thursday, April 19 (7 p.m.)
*Game 5: Saturday, April 21 (TBD)
*Game 6: Monday, April 23 (TBD)
*Game 7: Wednesday, April 25 (TBD)

* if necessary

Metropolitan Bracket

Washington Capitals (1) – 105 points
Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1) – 97 points

Season series: Capitals win 3-1-0
Dec. 2: Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3
Feb. 6: Capitals 3, Blue Jackets 2
Feb. 9: Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 2
Feb. 26: Blue Jackets 5, Capitals 1

Highlights
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin won his 7th Rocket Richard Trophy with 49 goals as the Capitals won their third consecutive division title.
Blue Jackets: Artemi Panarin’s 82 points established a new single-season franchise record.

Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, April 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Game 2: Sunday, April 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Game 3: Tuesday, April 17 (7 p.m.)
Game 4: Thursday, April 19 (7:30 p.m.)
*Game 5: Saturday, April 21 (TBD)
*Game 6: Monday, April 23 (TBD)
*Game 7: Wednesday, April 25 (TBD)

* if necessary

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) – 100 points
Philadelphia Flyers (3) – 98 points

Season series: Penguins win 4-0-0
Nov. 27: Penguins 5, Flyers 4 (OT)
Jan. 2: Penguins 5, Flyers 1
March 7: Penguins 5, Flyers 2
March 25: Penguins 5, Flyers 4 (OT)

Highlights
Penguins: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each finished top 10 in NHL scoring (while predominantly spread across three lines).
Flyers: Claude Giroux became the sixth player in franchise history to surpass the 100-point plateau.

Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday, April 11 (7 p.m.)
Game 2: Friday, April 13 (7 p.m.)
Game 3: Sunday, April 15 (3 p.m.)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 18 (7 p.m.)
*Game 5: Friday, April 20 (TBD)
*Game 6: Sunday, April 22 (TBD)
*Game 7: Tuesday, April 24 (TBD)

* if necessary

Western Conference

Central Bracket

Nashville Predators (1) – 117 points
Colorado Avalanche (WC2) – 95 points

Season series: Predators win 4-0-0
Oct 17: Predators 4, Avalanche 1
Nov. 18: Predators 5, Avalanche 2
March 4: Predators 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)
March 16: Predators 4, Avalanche 2

Highlights
Predators: Nashville captured the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time with a franchise-best 117 points.
Avalanche: Led by Hart Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado saw a 47-point improvement in the standings after last season’s last-place finish.

Schedule:
Game 1: Thursday, April 12 (9:30 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, April 14 (3 p.m.)
Game 3: Monday, April 16 (10 p.m.)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 18 (10 p.m.)
*Game 5: Friday, April 20 (TBD)
*Game 6: Sunday, April 22 (TBD)
*Game 7: Tuesday, April 24 (TBD)

* if necessary

Winnipeg Jets (2) – 114 points
Minnesota Wild (3) – 101 points

Season series: Jets win 3-1-0
Oct. 20: Jets 4, Wild 3
Oct. 31: Jets 2, Wild 1
Nov. 27: Jets 7, Wild 2
Jan. 13: Wild 4, Jets 1

Highlights
Jets: With 114 points, they shattered the previous record in the city while Connor Hellebuyck set the record for wins by an American-born goaltender.
Wild: Veteran centre Eric Staal scored more than 40 goals in a season for the first time since his sophomore season in 2005-06.

Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday, April 11 (7 p.m.)
Game 2: Friday, April 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Game 3: Sunday, April 15 (7 p.m.)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 17 (8 p.m.)
*Game 5: Friday, April 20 (TBD)
*Game 6: Sunday, April 22 (TBD)
*Game 7: Wednesday, April 25 (TBD)

* if necessary

Pacific Bracket

Vegas Golden Knights (1) – 109 points
Los Angeles Kings (WC1) – 98 points

Season series: Tied 2-1-1
Nov. 19: Golden Knights 4, Kings 2
Dec. 28: Golden Knights 3, Kings 2 (OT)
Feb. 26: Kings 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Feb. 27: Kings 4, Golden Knights 1

Highlights
Golden Knights: First modern-era expansion franchise across all North American pro sports leagues to win a division title.
Kings: Hart Trophy candidate Anze Kopitar had his most productive season (92 points) to date after last year’s disappointing 12-goal campaign.

Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday, April 11 (10 p.m.)
Game 2: Friday, April 13 (10 p.m.)
Game 3: Sunday, April 15 (10:30 p.m.)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 17 (10:30 p.m.)
*Game 5: Thursday, April 19 (10:00 p.m.)
*Game 6: Saturday, April 21 (TBD)
*Game 7: Monday, April 23 (TBD)

* if necessary

Anaheim Ducks (2) – 101 points
San Jose Sharks (3) – 100 points

Season series: Sharks win 3-0-1
Nov. 4: Sharks 2, Ducks 1 (SO)
Nov. 20: Ducks 3, Sharks 2 (SO)
Jan. 21: Sharks 6, Ducks 2
Feb 11: Sharks 3, Ducks 2 (SO)

Highlights
Ducks: Anaheim stole home-ice advantage from their Californian rivals with a 10-1-1 record down the stretch.
Sharks: San Jose scored at a higher rate than any Western Conference team after adding Evander Kane at the deadline.

Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, April 12 (10:30 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, April 14 (10:30 p.m.)
Game 3: Monday, April 16 (10:30 p.m.)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 18 (10:30 p.m.)
*Game 5: Friday, April 20 (TBD)
*Game 6: Sunday, April 22 (TBD)
*Game 7: Tuesday, April 24 (TBD)

* if necessary

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