How to watch NHL playoffs 2014 online, TV schedule and more for Wednesday's games

USA TODAY Sports

The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin with three games on Wednesday night. Here's the full schedule, and how you can watch.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway in Tampa, Pittsburgh and Anaheim on Wednesday night, with three Game 1's that will be available to anybody in North America with 1) a ticket 2) a television or 3) a computer. Here's the full rundown.

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round | Series tied 0-0
7 p.m. ET | Tampa Bay Times Forum, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Local TV: Sun Sports (TB)
National TV: CNBC (US) | CBC, RDS (Canada)
Live online stream at NBCSports.com (USA) and CBC.ca (Canada)
More: Series preview | Canadiens blog | Lightning blog

The Canadiens are in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning in Game 1. Home ice in this series was decided on the final day of the regular season, with the Lightning defeating the Capitals in a shootout to finish one point ahead of Montreal in the Atlantic Division standings.

Anders Lindback will be in goal for the Lightning, getting the start in place of the still-injured Ben Bishop. Carey Price gets the nod in goal for Montreal. Both goalies enter the playoffs red hot: Price off a 41-save shutout of the New York Rangers and Lindback the winner of three straight since filling in for Bishop.

***

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins

Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round | Series tied 0-0
7:30 p.m. ET | CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Local TV: Root Sports (PIT) | FS Ohio (CBJ)
National TV: NBCSN (US) | CBC (Canada)
Live online stream at NBCSports.com (USA) and CBC.ca (Canada)
MoreSeries previewBlue Jackets blogPenguins blog

Columbus has a tough opponent as it tries to win its first playoff game -- let alone series -- in franchise history. Evgeni Malkin will return to the Penguins lineup in Game 1, and clearly gives Pittsburgh a huge boost after a mediocre finish over the last month and a half of the season. The Penguins won all five games against Columbus in 2013-14.

Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start for Columbus against Marc-Andre Fleury for the Pens.

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Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks

Game 1, Western Conference First Round | Series tied 0-0
10 p.m. ET | Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Local TV: FS West (ANA) | FS Southwest (DAL)
National TV: NBCSN (US) | TSN (Canada)
Live online stream at NBCSports.com (USA) and TSN.ca (Canada)
MoreSeries previewStars blogDucks blog

Can the Anaheim Ducks avoid being upset in the first round second year in a row? Dallas enters as a wild card team against a top seed, but that shouldn't fool anybody: the Stars are a strong possession team with a dangerous top line featuring Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. The Ducks counter that dynamic Dallas duo with one of their own: Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Goals will happen.

Will Dallas steal a game in Anaheim? That's the big question beginning Wednesday night at Honda Center. Kari Lehtonen has been a mainstay in the Dallas crease and that continues in Game 1, while the young goaltender Frederik Andersen likely gets the start for the Ducks over veteran Jonas Hiller.

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