The 2014 NHL playoffs are underway, and the early returns are exactly what fans would expect from such a thrilling event. There have been multiple overtime games, gut-wrenching one-goal victories and even a triple-overtime nail-biter that featured the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Here is a look at the entire first-round schedule with television information included:
|Complete First-Round NHL Playoffs Schedule|
|Friday, April 18||7:30 p.m.||Detroit 1, Boston 0||NBCSN|
|Sunday, April 20||3 p.m.||Boston 4, Detroit 1||NBC|
|Tuesday, April 22||7:30 p.m.||Boston 3, Detroit 0||NBCSN|
|Thursday, April 24||8 p.m.||Boston at Detroit||NBCSN|
|Saturday, April 26||3 p.m.||Detroit at Boston||NBC|
|*Monday, April 28||TBD||Boston at Detroit||TSN|
|*Wednesday, April 30||TBD||Detroit at Boston||TSN|
|Wednesday, April 16||7 p.m.||Montreal 5, Tampa Bay 4||CNBC|
|Friday, April 18||7 p.m.||Montreal 4, Tampa Bay 1||CNBC|
|Sunday, April 20||7 p.m.||Montreal 3, Tampa Bay 2||NBCSN|
|Tuesday, April 22||7 p.m.||Montreal 4, Tampa Bay 3||NHL Network|
|Thursday, April 24||7 p.m.||Series Over||N/A|
|Sunday, April 27||TBD||Series Over||NBCSN|
|Tuesday, April 29||TBD||Series Over||N/A|
|Wednesday, April 16||7:30 p.m.||Pittsburgh 4, Columbus 3||NBCSN|
|Saturday, April 19||7 p.m.||Columbus 4, Pittsburgh 3||NBCSN|
|Monday, April 21||7 p.m.||Pittsburgh 4, Columbus 3||NBCSN|
|Wednesday, April 23||7 p.m.||Pittsburgh at Columbus||NBCSN|
|Saturday, April 26||TBD||Columbus at Pittsburgh||CBC|
|*Monday, April 28||TBD||Pittsburgh at Columbus||CBC|
|*Wednesday, April 30||TBD||Columbus at Pittsburgh||CBC|
|Thursday, April 17||7 p.m.||NY Rangers 4, Philadelphia 1||CNBC|
|Sunday, April 20||Noon||Philadelphia 4, NY Rangers 2||NBC|
|Tuesday, April 22||8 p.m.||NY Rangers 4, Philadelphia 1||CNBC|
|Friday, April 25||7 p.m.||NY Rangers at Philadelphia||CNBC|
|Sunday, April 27||Noon||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||NBC|
|*Tuesday, April 29||TBD||NY Rangers at Philadelphia||TSN|
|*Wednesday, April 30||TBD||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||TSN|
|Thursday, April 17||9:30 p.m.||Colorado 5, Minnesota 4||CNBC|
|Saturday, April 19||9:30 p.m.||Colorado 4, Minnesota 2||NBCSN|
|Monday, April 21||7 p.m.||Minnesota 1, Colorado 0||NHL Network|
|Thursday, April 24||9:30 p.m.||Colorado at Minnesota||CNBC|
|Saturday, April 26||TBD||Minnesota at Colorado||TSN|
|*Monday, April 28||TBD||Colorado at Minnesota||TSN|
|*Wednesday, April 30||TBD||Minnesota at Colorado||TSN|
|Thursday, April 17||8 p.m.||St. Louis 4, Chicago 3||NBCSN|
|Saturday, April 19||3 p.m.||St. Louis 4, Chicago 3||NBC|
|Monday, April 21||8:30 p.m.||Chicago 2, St. Louis 0||CNBC|
|Wednesday, April 23||9:30 p.m.||St. Louis at Chicago||NBCSN|
|Friday, April 25||8 p.m.||Chicago at St. Louis||NBCSN|
|*Sunday, April 27||3 p.m.||St. Louis at Chicago||NBC|
|*Tuesday, April 29||TBD||Chicago at St. Louis||CBC|
|Wednesday, April 16||10 p.m.||Anaheim 4, Dallas 3||NBCSN|
|Friday, April 18||10 p.m.||Anaheim 3, Dallas 2||NBCSN|
|Monday, April 21||9:30 p.m.||Dallas 3, Anaheim 0||NBCSN|
|Wednesday, April 23||8 p.m.||Anaheim at Dallas||CNBC|
|Friday, April 25||10:30 p.m.||Dallas at Anaheim||NBCSN|
|*Sunday, April 27||TBD||Anaheim at Dallas||TSN|
|*Tuesday, April 29||TBD||Dallas at Anaheim||TSN|
|Thursday, April 17||10:30 p.m.||San Jose 6, Los Angeles 3||NBCSN|
|Sunday, April 20||10 p.m.||San Jose 7, Los Angeles 2||NBCSN|
|Tuesday, April 22||10 p.m.||San Jose 4, Los Angeles 3||NBCSN|
|Thursday, April 24||10:30 p.m.||San Jose at Los Angeles||NBCSN|
|*Saturday, April 26||TBD||Los Angeles at San Jose||NBCSN|
|*Monday, April 28||TBD||San Jose at Los Angeles||CBC|
|*Wednesday, April 30||TBD||Los Angeles at San Jose||CBC|
|ESPN.com, (* if necessary)|
Now that we know what the first-round schedule and television broadcast information look like, let’s take a glance at the game to watch Wednesday in the NHL playoffs.
Wednesday Game to Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 4
The Columbus Blue Jackets may be the new faces around the NHL postseason block this time of year, but they have battled Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tooth and nail throughout this series.
Columbus actually held a 3-1 lead in the first game in Pittsburgh before collapsing down the stretch and eventually falling in overtime. Game 2 was something of a flip of the script, as it was the Blue Jackets who came back in the third period and finally put the game-winning goal home in double-overtime.
Columbus then dominated the first two periods in Game 3 in front of its home fans before giving up three goals in less than a three-minute stretch. Nationwide Arena was packed, and the air went out of the exuberant crowd just a little bit more each time the puck found the back of the net.
If Columbus wants any chance of advancing, it has to win Game 4 at home.
What makes this series so interesting from Pittsburgh’s perspective is the fact that Crosby or Evgeni Malkin have yet to score a goal, even though the Penguins hold a 2-1 advantage going into the fourth contest.
Forward Lee Stempniak, who came up huge for the Penguins in Game 3, talked about the need for others to step up, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
Obviously, Sid and Gino (Malkin) and Kuni and James Neal are going to get a lot of the attention, a lot of the tougher matchups. It sort of comes down to the secondary scoring and the other players who can make a difference in the series.
Look for Columbus to come out with the urgency you would expect from a team fighting for its postseason life in front of its home fans Wednesday.
The Blue Jackets will once again neutralize the superstars and force the role players to win the game for Pittsburgh. This time they won’t be able to, as Sergei Bobrovsky will make up for his lackluster third period in Game 3.
This back-and-forth series will head back to Pittsburgh appropriately tied at two games apiece.