NHL announces first round schedule: Rangers and Canadiens start Wednesday


The NHL released its first round schedule. The 2017 NHL Playoffs get underway on Wednesday, April 12. Five of eight series will begin with three in the Eastern Conference and two in the Western Conference.

That includes the Rangers and Canadiens, who will start up at 7 PM at Bell Centre. The good news is there doesn’t appear to be any back-to-backs. Every game is two days apart. So, Games 1 and 2 are Wednesday and Friday in Montreal at 7 EST. Games 3 and 4 return to MSG on Sunday, 4/16 and Tuesday, 4/18 also with 7 PM start times. Figure opening face-off to be approximately 7:10 EST. Here’s how it looks:

(WC1) Rangers vs (A1) Canadiens

Wed 4/12 NYR at MTL 7 PM

Fri 4/14   NYR at MTL  7 PM

Sun 4/16  MTL vs NYR 7 PM

Tue 4/18  MTL vs NYR 7 PM

*Thu 4/20 NYR at MTL TBD

*Sat 4/22   MTL vs NYR TBD

*Mon 4/24 NYR at MTL TBD

*if necessary

Other Eastern series which start Wednesday are the Bruins vs Senators and the Blue Jackets vs Penguins. The start times are different. Boston and Ottawa face off at 7 PM while Columbus and Pittsburgh are not till 7:30. So, you do get the half and hour difference for when your game is in intermission to channel flip.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs don’t begin until Thursday due to CBC. Like our series, it’s evenly spread out with each game two days apart. So, it looks like this:

Thu 4/13 TOR vs WSH 7 PM

Sat 4/15 TOR vs WSH 7 PM

Mon 4/17 WSH vs TOR 7 PM

Wed 4/19 WSH vs TOR 7 PM

*Fri 4/21 TOR vs WSH TBD

*Sun 4/23 WSH vs TOR TBD

*Tue 4/25 TOR vs WSH TBD

TBD is To Be Determined.

*if necessary

My only complaint is why is Boston/Ottawa spread out with two different three day layoffs. I guess Canadian TV wins that one along with NBC. Odd that they selected that match-up over Blue Jackets/Penguins. So:

Wed 4/12 BOS vs OTT 7 PM

Sat 4/15 BOS vs OTT 3 PM

Mon 4/17 OTT vs BOS 7 PM

Wed 4/19 OTT vs BOS 7:30 PM

*Fri 4/21 BOS vs OTT TBD

*Sun 4/23 OTT vs BOS TBD

*Wed 4/26 BOS vs OTT TBD

So, if it goes seven, they’re not finishing until 4/26. That day has been slated as the final day of Round 1 for three series including the Predators vs Blackhawks and Blues vs Wild. St. Louis and Minnesota also have two three-day layoffs. Nashville and Chicago have one three-day hiatus between Game 3 and 4 in Music City. There must be some kind of scheduling conflict. Think concerts. The same could be true of the other series that are more spread out.

In one Western series of interest, the Flames battle the Ducks. If it’s anything like their last meeting won by Anaheim big for like the upteenth time at The Pond (I think it’s 25 or 26 in a row in which Calgary has lost there), look out. Here’s their schedule:

Thu 4/13 CGY vs ANA 10:30 PM

Sat 4/15 CGY vs ANA 10:30 PM

Mon 4/17 ANA vs CGY 10 PM

Wed 4/19 ANA vs CGY 10 PM

*Fri 4/21 CGY vs ANA TBD

*Sun 4/23 ANA vs CGY TBD

*Tue 4/25 CGY vs ANA TBD

Nice and evenly spread out. Those are the best series. It allows for rhythm and for lots of other fun stuff. It also depends how it’s officiated and played.

The Oilers return to the postseason for the first time in over a decade since their magical run as an underdog eighth seed that made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006 against the Hurricanes. They will host the Sharks in a match-up featuring former San Jose coach Todd McLellan. Connor McDavid’s baptism comes against the team that made their first Stanley Cup appearance a year ago. But who’s healthy for the Sharks? Logan Couture? Joe Thornton? Wait and see. Here’s how the schedule looks:

Wed 4/12 SJS vs EDM 10 PM

Fri 4/14 SJS vs EDM 10:30 PM

Sun 4/16 EDM vs SJS 10 PM

Tue 4/18 EDM vs SJS 10 PM

*Thu 4/20 SJS vs EDM TBD

*Sat 4/22 EDM vs SJS TBD

*Mon 4/24 SJS vs EDM TBD

Another series that is two days apart. I am pulling hard for my buddy John’s Oilers. Too bad every match-up looks like a late start. I guess there isn’t gonna be many get togethers in South River. Darn it.

That’s gonna do it for this one. Well, I’m glad the Habs and Rangers will get going on Wednesday as I thought. It’s good that there’s no long periods between games. I don’t know what that means for the Rangers’ chances. I’m not that confident. I’ll have a preview in a couple of days. Plus some playoff predictions which are always fun. 😀

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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