NHL playoffs: Schedule, results and series glance for the first round

Will the Presidents' Trophy winners of the past two seasons finally erase memories of early postseason exits? Will the league's top scorers prevail against some elite defensive units? Will Sidney Crosby and Co. cruise their way to a repeat championship?

Wait no more, because all the questions will be answered over the course of the coming months -- over the long haul of 16 teams' pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The playoffs are here. And the race for a title begins now.

With the first-round schedule locked into place, make sure you know how to watch each every postseason showdown  and keep it here for updates on every series:

First-round series glance

Note: All game times are Eastern. Asterisks (*) denote games that will be played if necessary.

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

It's top-notch goalie vs. top-notch goalie as the Claude Julien-led Habs look to fend off an offensively geared contender in the Rangers, who were slotted into a wild card only because of their tightly contested division. In Game 1, Henrik Lundqvist had the upper hand . Game 2 belonged to an edgy Montreal .

  • Game 1: Rangers 2, Canadiens 0 (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Canadiens 4, Rangers 3 in OT (tied 1-1)
  • Game 3: Canadiens 3, Rangers 1 (lead 2-1)
  • Game 4: Rangers 2, Canadiens 1 (tied 2-2)
  • Game 5: Rangers 3, Canadiens 2 in OT (lead 3-2)
  • Game 6: Rangers 3, Canadiens 1 (won 4-2)

Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Top dog vs. underdog. The Capitals are the league's No. 1 team entering the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and they're hoping the Kevin Shattenkirk-bolstered defense they tout can tame Auston Matthews and the young Maple Leafs. It worked in Game 1 , albeit just barely, thanks to an OT win. Toronto took its own OT win in Game 2, then stunned the Caps again to take the series lead.

  • Game 1: Capitals 3, Maple Leafs 2 in OT (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Maple Leafs 4, Capitals 3 in OT (tied 1-1)
  • Game 3: Maple Leafs 4, Capitals 3 in OT (lead 2-1)
  • Game 4: Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 4 (tied 2-2)
  • Game 5: Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 1 (lead 3-2)
  • Game 6: Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 1 (won 4-2)

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

Under the interim watch of Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins are riding into the postseason as a hot upset candidate, hoping their rebound from a late-season slump is enough to upend a near-100-point, albeit inconsistent, club in Ottawa. The Senators stunned Boston in Game 2 , though, with an overtime decision, before doing the same thing in Game 3.

  • Game 1: Bruins 2, Senators 1 (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Senators 4, Bruins 3 in OT (tied 1-1)
  • Game 3: Senators 4, Bruins 3 in OT (lead 2-1)
  • Game 4: Senators 1, Bruins 0 (lead 3-1)
  • Game 5: Bruins 3, Senators 2 in OT (trail 3-2)
  • Game 6: Senators 2, Bruins 2 in OT (won 4-2)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Eastern showdown we've all been waiting for pits the league's best and most dynamic offense (we're looking at you, Mr. Crosby) against the NHL's stingiest defense outside of Washington. Game 1 showcased the Pens' very offense and -- guess who -- an old star in Marc-Andre Fleury . Game 2 was more of the same and a good sign for the defending champs , whose first hiccup did not arrive until Game 4.

  • Game 1: Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 1 (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 1 (lead 2-0)
  • Game 3: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 4 in OT (lead 3-0)
  • Game 4: Blue Jackets 5, Penguins 4 (trail 3-1)
  • Game 5: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2 (won 4-1)

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

The up and down Predators remain unpredictable, whereas Chicago is a near-lock to do damage deep into the playoffs, even after the Blackhawks' 2015-16 exit. It's championship material (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, etc.) against a feisty Nashville team. The Predators virtually made history in Game 1, shutting out Chi-Town , then stomped all over Chicago once more in Game 2 -- and, believe it or not, again  in Game 3 thanks to an OT finish. Then, against all odds, they pulled off the sweep.

  • Game 1: Predators 1, Blackhawks 0 (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Predators 5, Blackhawks 0 (lead 2-0)
  • Game 3: Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 in OT (lead 3-0)
  • Game 4: Predators 4, Blackhawks 1 (won 4-0)

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

The Pacific champs for the fifth straight season, the Ducks are about as hot now as the Flames were over the course of February and March, so this one is a battle of the NHL's biggest late-season streakers. And they showed that was the case with a four-game sweep of their rivals.

  • Game 1: Ducks 3, Flames 2 (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Ducks 3, Flames 2 (lead 2-0)
  • Game 3: Ducks 5, Flames 4 in OT (lead 3-0)
  • Game 4: Ducks 3, Flames 1 (won 4-0)

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Ready to erase memories of their steep fall from atop the Western Conference, the Wild still have one of the league's best goal differentials and begin their playoff journey against a Blues team that, yes, thrived after the departure of Kevin Shattenkirk. Jake Allen was electric in the net for St. Louis in a Game 1 upset as well as a second straight win , which set the stage for a 3-0 lead.

  • Game 1: Blues 2, Wild 1 in OT (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Blues 2, Wild 1 (lead 2-0)
  • Game 3: Blues 3, Wild 1 (lead 3-0)
  • Game 4: Wild 2, Blues 0 (trail 3-1)
  • Game 5: Blues 4, Wild 3 in OT (won 4-1)

Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

Connor McDavid gets his chance to take the Oilers for a run, and it starts against a team in San Jose that was once the apparent Pacific king but is still trying to right itself after an inexplicable late-year drop-off. The Sharks, however, made up for their slump with a close win to start the series. Edmonton got physical for a Game 2 rebound , then eked out another win in Game 3.

  • Game 1: Sharks 3, Oilers 2 in OT (lead 1-0)
  • Game 2: Oilers 2, Sharks 0 (tied 1-1)
  • Game 3: Oilers 1, Sharks 0 (lead 2-1)
  • Game 4: Sharks 7, Oilers 0 (tied 2-2)
  • Game 5: Oilers 4, Sharks 3 in OT (lead 3-2)
  • Game 6: Oilers 3, Sharks 1 (won 4-2)
Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Shop
NHL Winter Classic
Our Latest Stories