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NHL announces dates, times for 2021 NHL Playoffs first round

We’ve got a full look at the schedule for the first round of the 2021 NHL Playoffs.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) skates past the Stanley Cup Playoff logo during the third period in game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks at Enterprise Center. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is wrapping up its regular season and the 2021 Stanley Cup playoff bracket is coming into focus. Two of the final seeds need to be sorted out in the West Division, but the league announced the first round schedule Thursday afternoon. The puck drops on Saturday, May 15 in the Caps-Bruins series, and rolls out new series each day from there.

This year’s playoffs are a little different than what we’ve seen in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league realigned the 31 teams into four divisions with the seven Canadian teams playing in their own division. Canada has restrictions in place due to the pandemic which requires an extensive quarantine for anybody coming into Canada.

The league played exclusively within the division in this year’s regular season, and we’ll see that continue for the first two rounds of the playoffs. The top four teams in each division have earned a playoff berth. The first round will feature the No. 1 team in the division facing the No. 4 team and the No. 2 facing the No. 3. Then the winners of those two series will face off in the second round. This will happen across all four divisions. That will be followed by the Stanley Cup Semifinals with the final four teams reseeded based on regular season record.

Each division is ending at a different point due to COVID-19 delays. The North division will not play its final game until May 19 and so it will be the final division to start play in the playoffs. Below is a full list of start times, with if necessary games and a few Game 4 listed as TBD.

All times are ET. *=if necessary

East Division

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs. New York Islanders (4)

Sunday, May 16, 12 p.m.: Islanders @ Penguins | NBC, SN, TVAS
Tuesday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.: Islanders @ Penguins | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Thursday, May 20, 7 p.m.: Penguins @ Islanders | NBCSN, SN360, TVAS
Saturday, May 22, 3 p.m.: Penguins @ Islanders | NBC, SN, TVAS
*Monday, May 24, TBD: Islanders @ Penguins | TBD
*Wednesday, May 26, TBD: Penguins @ Islanders | TBD
*Friday, May 28, TBD: Islanders @ Penguins | TBD

Washington Capitals (2) vs. Boston Bruins (3)

Saturday, May 15, 7:15 p.m.: Bruins @ Capitals | NBC, SN, CBC, TVAS
Monday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.: Bruins @ Capitals | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Wednesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m.: Capitals @ Bruins | NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360, TVAS
Friday, May 21, 6:30 p.m.: Capitals @ Bruins | NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360, TVAS
*Sunday, May 23, TBD: Bruins @ Capitals | TBD
*Tuesday, May 25, TBD: Capitals @ Bruins | TBD
*Thursday, May 27, TBD: Bruins @ Capitals | TBD

Central Division

Carolina Hurricanes (1) vs. Nashvillle Predators (4)

Monday, May 17, 8 p.m.: Predators @ Hurricanes | CNBC, SNE, TVAS
Wednesday, May 19, 8 p.m.: Predators @ Hurricanes | CNBC, FX-CA, TVAS
Friday, May 21, 7 p.m.: Hurricanes @ Predators | USA, FXX-CA, TVAS
Sunday, May 23, TBD: Hurricanes @ Predators | TBD
*Tuesday, May 25, TBD: Predators @ Hurricanes | TBD
*Thursday, May 27, TBD: Hurricanes @ Predators | TBD
*Saturday, May 29, TBD: Predators @ Hurricanes | TBD

Florida Panthers (2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (3)

Sunday, May 16, 7:30 p.m.: Lightning @ Panthers | NBCSN, SN, TVAS
Tuesday, May 18, 8 p.m.: Lightning @ Panthers | CNBC, SNE, TVAS
Thursday, May 20, 6:30 p.m.: Panthers @ Lightning | USA, FX-CA, TVAS
Saturday, May 22, 12:30 p.m.: Panthers @ Lightning | CNBC, SN, TVAS
*Monday, May 24, TBD: Lightning @ Panthers | TBD
*Wednesday, May 26, TBD: Panthers @ Lightning | TBD
*Friday, May 28, TBD: Lightning @ Panthers | TBD

North Division

Toronto Maple Leafs (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (4)

Thursday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs | NHLN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Saturday, May 22, 7 p.m.: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs | CNBC, SN, CBC, TVAS
Monday, May 24, TBD: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens | TBD
Tuesday, May 25, TBD: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens | TBD
*Thursday, May 27, TBD: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs | TBD
*Saturday, May 29, TBD: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens | TBD
*Monday, May 31, TBD: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs | TBD

Edmonton Oilers (2) vs. Winnipeg Jets (3)

Wednesday, May 19, 9 p.m.: Jets @ Oilers | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Friday, May 21, 9 p.m.: Jets @ Oilers | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Sunday, May 23, TBD: Oilers @ Jets | TBD
Monday, May 24, TBD: Oilers @ Jets | TBD
*Wednesday, May 26, TBD: Jets @ Oilers | TBD
*Friday, May 28, TBD: Oilers @ Jets | TBD
*Sunday, May 30, TBD: Jets @ Oilers | TBD

West Division

Colorado Avalanche/Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. St. Louis Blues (4)

Monday, May 17, 10 p.m.: Blues @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | NBCSN, SN1, TVAS
Wednesday, May 19, 10:30 p.m.: Blues @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | CNBC, SN360, TVAS
Friday, May 21, 9:30 p.m.: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Blues | USA, SN360, TVAS
Sunday, May 23, TBD: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Blues | TBD
*Tuesday, May 25, TBD: Blues @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | TBD
*Thursday, May 27, TBD: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Blues | TBD
*Saturday, May 29, TBD: Blues @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | TBD

Colorado Avalanche/Vegas Golden Knights (2) vs. Minnesota Wild (3)

Sunday, May 16, 3 p.m.: Wild @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | NBC, SN, TVAS
Tuesday, May 18, 10 p.m.: Wild @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | NBCSN, SN360, TVAS
Thursday, May 20, 9:30 p.m.: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Wild | NBCSN, SN360, TVAS
Saturday, May 22, 8 p.m.: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Wild | NBC, SN360, TVAS
*Monday, May 24, TBD: Wild @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | TBD
*Wednesday, May 26, TBD: Avalanche/Golden Knights @ Wild | TBD
*Friday, May 28, TBD: Wild @ Avalanche/Golden Knights | TBD