Eastern Conference

All games at Toronto

Qualifying Round

Best-of-5/Traditional playoff overtime rules apply (first goal wins)

Pittsburgh (5) vs. Montreal (12)

1: Saturday, Aug. 1: at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. (NBC)

2: Monday, Aug. 3: at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

3: Wednesday, Aug. 5: at Montreal, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: at Montreal, TBD

*5: Saturday, Aug. 8: at Pittsburgh, TBD

*If necessary. Home teams listed for purposes of final line-change during stoppages.

Head-to-head: Pittsburgh 2-1, Montreal 1-1-1. Pittsburgh’s overtime win was in Montreal.

Three things: Goaltender Matt Murray helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups, but Tristan Jarry was an All-Star this year. An empty arena is a fine anecdote for a goalie controversy; nobody to boo when someone lets in a soft goal. ... Probably hustle a drink off this trivia question. Which Penguin has the most playoff goals among all active NHL players? Patrick Marleau has 72. Sidney Crosby is next with 66 followed by Alex Ovechkin (65) and Evgeni Malkin (63). ... At around 2:1, the Canadiens have the longest odds to win their qualifying round. “We can be underdogs all day, that’s fine. You look at the history of playoffs over the years and strange things have happened. Teams go on a roll at the right time, get good goaltending, stay healthy. and you just never know what can happen.”

Guess: We usually call this topic the “pick” but does anybody really know how this is going to go? Anyway, Penguins in 4.

Carolina (6) vs. N.Y. Rangers (11)

1: Saturday, Aug. 1: at Carolina, noon (NBCSN)

2: Monday, Aug. 3: at Carolina, noon (NBCSN)

3: Tuesday, Aug. 4: at N.Y. Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

*4: Thursday, Aug. 6: at N.Y. Rangers, TBD

*5: Saturday, Aug. 8: at Carolina, TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Rangers 4-0. New York outscored Carolina, 17-5.

Three things: Carolina star defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who broke his leg in January, will not play in Game 1 because of an unspecified injury. The Hurricanes, oddly, had a .596 win percentage with him in the lineup (27-18-2) and were .595 without him (11-7-3) this season. ... Rod Brind’Amour, who took the ‘Canes to the ECF last year, is trying to become the second consecutive former Flyer to coach his team to a Stanley Cup. Wouldn’t that be something? ... The Rangers have won five in a row and 10 of 12 against the Hurricanes. All of those wins have been in regulation.

Guess: Rangers in 5.

N.Y. Islanders (7) vs. Florida (10)

1: Saturday, Aug. 1: at N.Y. Islanders, 4 p.m. (NBCSN)

2: Tuesday, Aug. 4: at N.Y. Islanders, noon (NBCSN)

3: Wednesday, Aug. 5: at Florida, noon (NBCSN)

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: at Florida, TBD

*5: Sunday, Aug. 9: at N.Y. Islanders, TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Islanders 3-0-0, Panthers 0-2-1. Florida picked up a point in a shootout loss in October.

Three things: Brock Nelson led the Islanders with 26 goals to tie a career high. His uncle, Dave Christian, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which showed miracles do happen. ... The Isles lost seven in a row (0-3-4) before the stoppage of play on March 12. ... Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the second-highest paid goalie in the league behind Montreal’s Carey Price at $10 million, had a disappointing first season for the Panthers (career-high 3.23 goals against average). He’s 1-4 in postseason series in his career.

Guess: Islanders in 5.

Dangerous center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who played just seven games for the Islanders, will be among the players acquired at the trade deadline to benefit from the summer training camp.
Kathy Willens / AP
Dangerous center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who played just seven games for the Islanders, will be among the players acquired at the trade deadline to benefit from the summer training camp.

Toronto (8) vs. Columbus (9)

1: Sunday, Aug. 2: Toronto vs. Columbus, 8 p.m. (NHLN)

2: Tuesday, Aug. 4: Toronto vs. Columbus, 4 p.m. (NBCSN)

3: Thursday, Aug. 6: Columbus vs. Toronto, TBD

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: Columbus vs. Toronto, TBD

*5: Sunday, Aug. 9: Toronto vs. Columbus, TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Played twice, both in October. Maple Leafs won at Columbus in regulation, CBJ won at Toronto in overtime.

Three things: The Leafs led the NHL in highest-scoring games with an average of 6.56 combined goals per between them and their opponent. (The team with the lowest GPG plays in the West.) ... Columbus stunned high-flying Tampa Bay in last year’s playoffs, and they are a lot healthier today than they were in mid-March. ... Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson are among the key players who would have missed all or part of the original postseason, but are back now. The Maple Leafs losing a series where all the games are in Toronto would be such a Maple Leaf thing.

Guess: Columbus in 5.

Western Conference

All games at Edmonton

Round-Robin

Determines the first four seeds of the conference.

Sunday, Aug. 2: St. Louis at Colorado, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Monday, Aug. 3: Dallas at Vegas, 6:30 p.m. (NHLN)

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Colorado at Dallas, 6:30 p.m. (NHLN)

Thursday, Aug. 6: Vegas at St. Louis, TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8: Vegas at Colorado, TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9: Dallas at St. Louis, TBD

Note: Home teams are listed for purposes of final line change during stoppages of play. ... Regular-season overtime rules apply. ... In case of ties in standings in round-robin, regular-season standings will prevail (1-St. Louis, 2-Colorado, 3-Vegas, 4-Dallas).

Notable

St. Louis: Craig Berube did another excellent job as coach this season in guiding the Blues to the best record in the West despite losing potent scorer Vladimir Tarasenko to shoulder surgery in October. Tarasenko has returned. ... St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo left his wife and their 2-year-old triplets to chase a second consecutive championship. Pietrangelo, top-5 in most categories all-time among Blues defensemen, will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

St. Louis coach Craig Berube hoists the Stanley Cup following last season's Game 7 victory in Boston. No St. Louis major pro sports teams has ever won consecutive championships. The closest was the Cardinals who won the 1967 World Series, but lost to Detroit the following year in seven games.
Michael Dwyer / AP
St. Louis coach Craig Berube hoists the Stanley Cup following last season's Game 7 victory in Boston. No St. Louis major pro sports teams has ever won consecutive championships. The closest was the Cardinals who won the 1967 World Series, but lost to Detroit the following year in seven games.

Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon led the Avalanche with 93 points. Second was rookie Cale Makar (50). It’s the largest margin between top two teammates since Alex Ovechkin (112) had 43 more points than Nicklas Backstrom for the 2007-08 Capitals. … MacKinnon also led the league with 318 shots on goal. By comparison, Claude Giroux led the Flyers with 197, which was tied for 32nd league wide.

Vegas: Was a bit of a shock when they fired Gerard Gallant, who took them to the Final in 2018, after a 24-19-6 start. But then they went 15-5-2 under Peter DeBoer, which included an eight-game winning streak to win the Pacific Division. ... Leading scorer Max Pacioretty might not play in the round-robin because of an unspecified injury. He was still in Vegas as of Thursday, and it was unclear when he’d join the club.

Dallas: The Stars opened the season 1-7-1 before a convincing win over the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center ignited a 14-1-1 burst. Fired coach Jim Montgomery in December for “unprofessional conduct” and turned to Rick Bowness. Bowness, 65, hadn’t coached in the NHL since 2004, and hasn’t coached in the playoffs since 1992. ... The Stars, over/under bettors might not, played on average the lowest-scoring games at 5.10 goals between them and their opponent.

Qualifying Round

Best-of-5/Traditional playoff overtime rules apply (first goal wins)

Edmonton (5) vs. Chicago (12)

1: Saturday, Aug. 1: at Edmonton, 3 p.m. (NBC)

2: Monday, Aug. 3: at Edmonton, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

3: Wednesday, Aug. 5: at Chicago, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: at Chicago, TBD

*5: Saturday, Aug. 8: at Edmonton, TBD

*If necessary. Home teams listed for purposes of final line-change during stoppages.

Head-to-head: Chicago took two of three, all in regulation. The March 5 loss was a killer for the Oilers, who nearly climbed out of a three-goal deficit in the 4-3 loss. Had Edmonton won, they’d have been in the round-robin instead of the qualifying round.

Three things: Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, an MVP finalist who led the league with 110 points, also led all NHL forwards in ice time at 22:37. … Kailer Yamamoto, who plays on Draisaitl’s right wing, had 26 points in 27 games. He was taught to skate by the mother of Tampa Bay star Tyler Johnson as the two grew up in Spokane, Wash. When he was 22 months old, Yamamoto told the Edmonton Sun, “to get me to skate sometimes they’d have to put some M&Ms on the ice so [I would follow] the trail and start skating.” ... Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford has recovered from COVID-19. He’s won two Stanley Cups for Chicago and won both starts this year against Edmonton.

Guess: Blackhawks in 4.

Nashville (6) vs. Arizona (11)

1: Sunday, Aug. 2: at Nashville, 2 p.m. (USA)

2: Tuesday, Aug. 4: at Nashville, 2:30 p.m. (NHLN)

3: Wednesday, Aug. 5: at Arizona, 2:30 p.m. (NHLN)

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: at Arizona, TBD

*5: Sunday, Aug. 9: at Nashville TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Split two meetings with the home team winning each in regulation.

Three things: Matt Duchene (13 goals, 66 games) was underwhelming after Nashville gave him a seven-year, $56 million deal. Duchene had three goals and four assists for Columbus last year when it stunned Tampa Bay with a first-round sweep. ... Arizona general manager John Chayka quit earlier this week. Not the vibe you want to send in your first playoff appearance since 2012. ... Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said he’ll use both of his goalies liberally during the playoffs. The Coyotes’ mid-season nosedive out of first place coincided with injuries to Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta.

Guess: Arizona in 5.

This will be the first playoffs behind the bench for Rick Tocchet, who is in his fifth season as a coach. The Coyotes wouldn’t have been in the postseason if not for this year's unique format.
Darryl Webb / AP
This will be the first playoffs behind the bench for Rick Tocchet, who is in his fifth season as a coach. The Coyotes wouldn’t have been in the postseason if not for this year's unique format.

Vancouver (7) vs. Minnesota (10)

1: Sunday, Aug. 2: at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

2: Tuesday, Aug. 4: at Vancouver, 10:45 p.m. (USA)

3: Thursday, Aug. 6: at Minnesota, TBD

*4: Friday, Aug. 7: at Minnesota, TBD

*5: Sunday, Aug. 9: at Vancouver, TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Minnesota won two of three, including one game by shootout. Vancouver outscored the Wild, 9-8, in the three games.

Three things: Canucks fourth-line center Jay Beagle played just 12:34 per game, but his 3:02 average per game on the penalty-kill led all NHL forwards. Vancouver goalie Jacob Marstrom has started 256 career games. Sunday will be his first in a playoff. He did look shaky in Wednesday’s exhibition loss to Winnipeg. ... Minnesota‘s 37-year-old captain Mikko Koivu is a pending free agent. He’s appeared in 55 of Minnesota’s 73 playoff games.

Guess: Vancouver in 4.

Calgary (8) vs. Winnipeg (9)

1: Saturday, Aug. 1: at Calgary, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

2: Monday, Aug. 3: at Calgary, 2:30 p.m. (NHLN)

3: Tuesday, Aug. 4: at Winnipeg, 6:45 p.m. (NHLN)

*4: Thursday, Aug. 6: at Winnipeg, 10:30 p.m.

*5: Saturday, Aug. 8: at Calgary, TBD

*If necessary.

Head-to-head: Winnipeg won the only meeting when Bryan Little scored in overtime on Oct. 26. When they meet Saturday, that will have been , which will be 280 days ago when these teams meet on Saturday.

Three things: Calgary’s Milan Lucic (Boston, 2011) is the only player in this series who’s won a Cup. Mark Gordano, a terrific defenseman who has been the captain for seven years, has never even won a series. He was hurt when the Flames beat Vancouver in the first round in 2015. ... Hate to pick on the local guy, but Johnny Gaudreau does not have a goal in Calgary’s last two playoff appearances (nine games). Another early exit will not go over well. ... Winnipeg defenseman Neal Pionk was asked by the New York Post while he was with the Rangers who would be his top three dinner guests. He listed musician Zac Brown, baseball star Albert Pujols and somewhat surprisingly Dave Schultz.

Guess: Winnipeg in 4.