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NHL playoffs 2015: Bracket, schedule and scores

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are widely considered the best postseason in any North American sport, and this year, which features no clear-cut favorites, should live up to these lofty expectations.

The field was so wide open that many pundits had the No. 1 seeds (Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers) losing in the opening round. Ask a group of 10 hockey fans who they think will win it all, and you may get 10 different answers.

The Rangers, winners of the 2014-15 President's Trophy, certainly felt pressure to come out on top. New York lost in the Final last spring to the Los Angeles Kings, and have done an admirable job avoiding a major hangover. The Blueshirts, who feature a lot of depth and a star goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, were looking for their first Cup since 1994.

The Ducks felt the heat too, especially head coach Bruce Boudreau. The veteran bench boss has enjoyed a lot of regular seasons success -- both in Washington and in Anaheim -- but this hasn't translated to the playoffs. The Ducks have won the Pacific Division for three straight campaigns under Boudreau's watch, however they didn't advance beyond the second round until this year's trip to the conference final. Boudreau's Capitals squads were famous for their postseason blunders.

The format

The top three teams in each division -- Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, Pacific -- earned automatic postseason berths, while the final four spots were given to two wild card teams in each conference based on point totals. The top seeds in both conferences play against the lowest wild card teams in the first round, and the other division winners face off against the other wild card qualifiers. Otherwise, the matchups aren't based on conference standings -- rather, the second and third seeds in each division square off. From there, whoever emerges from the series involving division champions take on the winners of the series involving the second and third seeds in what is known as the conference semifinals. The winners advance to the Conference Finals, and then the Stanley Cup Final.

Each series is best-of-seven, played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format.

The teams

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
1. Montreal Canadiens - 110 points
2. Tampa Bay Lightning - 108 points
3. Detroit Red Wings - 100 points

Metropolitan Division
1. New York Rangers - 113 points
2. Washington Capitals - 101 points
3. New York Islanders - 101 points

Wild Cards
1. Ottawa Senators - 99 points
2. Pittsburgh Penguins - 98 points

Western Conference

Central Division
1. St. Louis Blues - 109 points
2. Nshville Predators - 104 points
3. Chicago Blackhawks - 102 points

Pacific Division
1. Anaheim Ducks - 109 points
2. Vancouver Canucks - 101 points
3. Calgary Flames - 97 points

Wild Cards
1. Minnesota Wild - 100 points
2. Winnipeg Jets - 99 points

Bracket


Bracket: NHL.com

Schedule and results

All times Eastern
*if necessary

First round

Wednesday, April 15
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: Montreal 4, Ottawa 3 (recap)
Game 1: NY Islanders 4, Washington 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: Chicago 4, Nashville 3 (2 OT) (recap)
Game 1: Calgary 2, Vancouver 1 (recap)

Thursday, April 16
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: NY Rangers 2, Pittsburgh 1 (recap)
Game 1: Detroit 3, Tampa Bay 2 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: Minnesota 4, St. Louis 2 (recap)
Game 1: Anaheim 4, Winnipeg 2 (recap)

Friday, April 17
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: Montreal 3, Ottawa 2 (OT) (recap)
Game 2: Washington 4, NY Islanders 3 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: Nashville 6, Chicago 2 (recap)
Game 2: Vancouver 4, Calgary 1 (recap)

Saturday, April 18
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 1 (recap)
Game 2: Pittsburgh, NY Rangers 3 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: St. Louis 4, Minnesota 1 (recap)
Game 2: Anaheim 2, Winnipeg 1 (recap)

Sunday, April 19
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: NY Islanders 2, Washington 1 (recap)
Game 3: Montreal 2, Ottawa 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: Chicago 4, Nashville 2 (recap)
Game 3: Calgary 4, Vancouver 2 (recap)

Monday, April 20
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: NY Rangers 2, Pittsburgh 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: Minnesota 3, St. Louis 0 (recap)
Game 3: Anaheim 5, Winnipeg 4 (recap)

Tuesday, April 21
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: Detroit 3, Tampa Bay 0 (recap)
Game 4: Washington 2, NY Islanders 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Chicago 3, Nashville 2 (3 OT) (recap)
Game 4: Calgary 3, Vancouver 1 (recap)

Wednesday, April 22
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Ottawa 1, Montreal 0 (recap)
Game 4: NY Rangers 2, Pittsburgh 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: St. Louis 6, Minnesota 1 (recap)
Game 4: Anaheim 5, Winnipeg 2 (recap)

Thursday, April 23
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Tampa Bay 3, Detroit 2 (OT) (recap)
Game 5: Washington 5, NY Islanders 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 5: Nashville 5, Chicago 2 (recap)
Game 5: Vancouver 2, Calgary 1 (recap)

Friday, April 24
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 5: Ottawa 5, Montreal 1 (recap)
Game 5: NY Rangers 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT) (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 5: Minnesota 4, St. Louis 1 (recap)

Saturday, April 25
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: NY Islanders 3, Washington 1 (recap)
Game 5: Detroit 4, Tampa Bay 0 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: Chicago 4, Nashville 3 (recap)
Game 6: Calgary 7, Vancouver 4 (recap)

Sunday, April 26
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: Montreal 2, Ottawa 0 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: Minnesota 4, St. Louis 1 (recap)

Monday, April 27
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 2 (recap)
Game 7: Washington 2, NY Islanders 1 (recap)

Wednesday, April 29
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 7: Tampa Bay 1, Detroit 0 (recap)

Second round

Thursday, April 30
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 1: Washington 2, NY Rangers 1 (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 1: Anaheim 6, Calgary 1 (recap)

Friday, May 1
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 1: Tampa Bay 2, Montreal 1 (2 OT) (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 1: Chicago 4, Minnesota 3 (recap)

Saturday, May 2
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 2: NY Rangers 3, Washington 2 (recap)

Sunday, May 3
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 2: Tampa Bay 6, Montreal 2 (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 2: Chicago 3, Minnesota 1 (recap)
Game 2: Anaheim 3, Calgary 0 (recap)

Monday, May 4
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 3: Washington 1, New York Rangers 0 (recap)

Tuesday, May 5
Western Conference semifinals
Game 3: Chicago 1, Minnesota 0 (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 3: Calgary 4, Anaheim 3 (OT) (recap)

Wednesday, May 6
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 3: Tampa Bay 2, Montreal 1 (recap)
Game 3: Washington 2, New York Rangers (recap)

Thursday, May 7
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 4: Montreal 6, Tampa Bay 2 (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 4: Chicago 4, Minnesota 3 (recap)

Friday, May 8
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 5: NY Rangers 2, Washington 1 (OT) (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 4: Anaheim 4, Calgary 2 (recap)

Saturday, May 9
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 5: Montreal 2, Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Sunday, May 10
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 6: NY Rangers 4, Washington 3 (recap)
Western Conference semifinals
Game 5: Anaheim 3, Calgary 2 (OT) (recap)

Tuesday, May 12
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 6: Tampa Bay 4, Montreal 1 (recap)

Wednesday, May 13
Eastern Conference semifinals
Game 7: NY Rangers 2, Washington 1 (OT) (recap)

Conference finals

Saturday, May 16
Eastern Conference finals
Game 1: NY Rangers 2, Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Sunday, May 17
Western Conference finals
Game 1: Anaheim 4, Chicago 1 (recap)

Monday, May 18
Eastern Conference finals
Game 2: Tampa Bay 6, NY Rangers 2 (recap)

Tuesday, May 19
Western Conference finals
Game 2: Chicago 3, Anaheim 2 (3OT) (recap)

Wednesday, May 20
Eastern Conference finals
Game 3: Tampa Bay 6, NY Rangers 5 (OT) (recap)

Thusday, May 21
Western Conference finals
Game 3: Anaheim 2, Chicago 1 (recap)

Friday, May 22
Eastern Conference finals
Game 4: NY Rangers 5 Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Saturday, May 23
Western Conference finals
Game 4: Chicago 5, Anaheim 4 (2 OT) (recap)

Sunday, May 24
Eastern Conference finals
Game 5: Tampa Bay 2, NY Rangers 0 (recap)

Monday, May 25
Western Conference finals
Game 5: Anaheim 5, Chicago 4 (OT) (recap)

Tuesday, May 26
Eastern Conference finals
Game 6: NY Rangers 7, Tampa Bay 3 (recap)

Wednesday, May 27
Western Conference finals
Game 6: Chicago 5, Anaheim 2 (recap)

Friday, May 29
Eastern Conference finals
Game 7: Tampa Bay 2, NY Rangers 0 (recap)

Saturday, May 30
Western Conference finals
Game 7: Chicago 5, Anaheim 3 (recap)

Stanley Cup Final

Wednesday, June 3
Game 1: Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Saturday, June 6
Game 2: Tampa Bay 4, Chicago 3 (recap)

Monday, June 8
Game 3: Tampa Bay 3, Chicago 2 (recap)

Wednesday, June 10
Game 4: Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Saturday, June 13
Game 5: Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 1 (recap)

Monday, June 15
Game 6: Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 0 (recap)