2013 NHL Playoffs — Conference Semifinals Preview
With an exciting first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs now complete, eight remaining teams will continue their quest for the Stanley Cup in the conference semifinals beginning this week. Here’s a preview of the four NHL playoff series ready to get underway:
All series are best-of-seven.
* — if necessary
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
After struggling to put away the New York Islanders in six games in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins face the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Senators looked impressive while dispatching the Montreal Canadiens in five physical games. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis and Brenden Morrow are the key offensive players for the Penguins, but the play of reserve goaltender Tomas Vokoun in place of the ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury helped give Pittsburgh its victory over the Isles. Daniel Alfredsson fuels the Ottawa offense, but the Senators would also love to have Jason Spezza back. The Penguins won all three games in the season series between these teams.
Game 1 at Pittsburgh: Tues. May 14, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Pittsburgh: Fri. May 17, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 3 at Ottawa: Sun. May 19, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at Ottawa: Wed. May 22, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 5 at Pittsburgh: Fri. May 24; 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 6 at Ottawa: Sun. May 26; TBD; CBC
*Game 7 at Pittsburgh: Tues. May 28; TBD; CBC
(4) Boston Bruins vs. (6) New York Rangers
New York vs Boston is a rivalry in any sport, but the cities’ NHL duel had taken a backseat to the MLB, NFL and NBA battles in recent years; these teams haven’t met in the post-season since 1973. Both the Bruins and the Rangers advanced via Game 7 wins on Monday night. Boston made a miraculous comeback against Toronto, while New York shut out Washington on the road. David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand lead the Bruins’ offense against Rangers’ star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who is coming off back-to-back shutouts. The New York line of Derick Brassard, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello has the potential to do the most damage against Boston netminder Tuukka Rask.
Game 1 at Boston: Thurs. May 16, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Boston: Sun. May 19, 3 p.m.; NBC
Game 3 at New York: Tues. May 21, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at New York: Thurs. May 23, 7:30 p.m.; CNBC
*Game 5 at Boston: Sat. May 25; TBD; TSN
*Game 6 at New York: Mon. May 27; TBD; TSN
*Game 7 at Boston: Wed. May 29; TBD; TSN
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
The seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings and top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks have not met in the playoffs since 2009, but both teams will seek to advance to the Western Conference finals by winning this series. Chicago beat Minnesota in five games to get to the second round, while Detroit upset Anaheim in seven games. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa will lead the Blackhawks on offense, while Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk counter for the Red Wings. Chicago swept the regular-season series with Detroit.
Game 1 at Chicago: Wed. May 15, 8 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Chicago: Sat. May 18, 1 p.m.; NBC
Game 3 at Detroit: Mon. May 20, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at Detroit: Thurs. May 23, 8 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 5 at Chicago: Sat. May 25; TBD; CBC
*Game 6 at Detroit: Mon. May 27; TBD; CBC
*Game 7 at Chicago: Wed. May 29; TBD; CBC
(5) Los Angeles Kings vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings looked like contenders again while beating St. Louis in six games. Dustin Penner, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are the offensive force for Los Angeles. The San Jose Sharks swept the Vancouver Canucks behind inspired play from Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. They’ll have to solve Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick, who was his spectacular playoff self in the first round. The teams split four games during the regular season.
Game 1 at Los Angeles: Tues. May 14, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Los Angeles: Thus. May 16, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 3 at San Jose: Sat. May 18, 9 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at San Jose: Tues. May 21, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 5 at Los Angeles: Thurs. May 23; 10:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 6 at San Jose: Sun. May 26; TBD; TSN
*Game 7 at Los Angeles: Tues. May 28; TBD; TSN