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NHL Playoff Picture Update: Eastern Conference matchups set

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

The Eastern Conference playoff field is set thanks to the Ottawa Senators win in Boston. (USATSI)
The Eastern Conference playoff field is set thanks to the Ottawa Senators' win in Boston. (USATSI)

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Entering Sunday's game in Boston we knew which eight teams were in the Eastern Conference playoffs. We just had no idea what three of the four first-round matchups would look like.

Thanks to the Senators' 4-2 win over the Bruins we now know.

More on NHL playoffs
Western Conference matchups

Boston's loss means that Montreal wins the Northeast Division and gives the Canadiens the No. 2 seed, while Boston will remain in fourth place and have a first-round date with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie Sunday's game in the third period but allowed Jean-Gabriel Pageau to score the game-winner with less than three minutes to play. The Senators added another goal late in the period when Kyle Turris scored into an empty net.

Had the Bruins won it would have set up an incredible first-round matchup between Montreal and Toronto in the 4-5 series. That's not to say a Boston-Toronto series won't have some intrigue as well thanks to the Tyler Seguin/Dougie Hamilton-Phil Kessel angle (the Maple Leafs acquired Kessel from Boston for two draft picks that turned out to be Seguin and Hamilton -- but you probably already knew that).

As for the rest of the Eastern Conference first-round matchups, it all looks like this:

1. Pittsburgh vs. New York Islanders
2. Montreal vs. Ottawa
3. Washington vs. New York Rangers
4. Boston vs. Toronto

The Western Conference matchups are as follows:

1. Chicago vs. 8. Minnesota
2. Anaheim vs. 7. Detroit
3. Vancouver vs. 6. San Jose
4. St. Louis vs. 5. Los Angeles

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