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2013 NHL Playoffs First Round — Western Conference Preview & Schedule

2013 NHL Playoffs Western Conference
Jonathan Daniel, Derek Leung, Christian Petersen / Getty Images

The first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs starts Tuesday night, as 16 NHL teams vie to become the one to drink from the Stanley Cup in June. The top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks were the league’s best team in the regular season and are favored to win the West. The defending champion L.A. Kings are also back in the post-season. Here’s a preview of the 2013 NHL playoffs’ first round match-ups in the Western Conference:

All series are best-of-seven.
* — if necessary

 

Blackhawks-Wild
Jonathan Daniel, Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild

After a dominating start to the season, the Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5) captured the Presidents’ Trophy and remain the heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews spearhead the Chicago attack. The eighth-seeded Minnesota Wild (26-19-3) are in the playoffs for the first time in five years. Zach Parise will lead the Minnesota offense, but the pressure will be on goalie Niklas Backstrom, who has never won an NHL playoff series. The Blackhawks won two of the three games between the teams in the regular season.

Game 1 at Chicago: Tu. Apr. 30, 8 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Chicago: Fri. May 3, 9:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 3 at Minnesota: Sun. May 5, 3 p.m.; NBC
Game 4 at Minnesota: Tues. May 7, 9:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 5 at Chicago: Thurs. May 9; TBD
*Game 6 at Minnesota: Sat. May 11; TBD
*Game 7 at Chicago: Sun. May 12; TBD

 

Ducks-Red Wings
Derek Leung, Christian Petersen / Getty Images

(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings

The Anaheim Ducks (30-12-6) were among the NHL’s best teams. They’ll need to play their best to take out the experienced Detroit Red Wings (24-16-8). Center Ryan Getzlaf will be the key to the Anaheim offense. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are proven performers who can dominate a series if unchecked. The Red Wings won the season series, 2-1

Game 1 at Anaheim: Tu. Apr. 30, 10:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Anaheim: Thurs. May 2, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 3 at Detroit: Sat. May 4, 7:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at Detroit: Mon. May 6, 8 p.m.; CNBC
*Game 5 at Anaheim: Wed. May 8; TBD
*Game 6 at Detroit: Fri. May 10; TBD
*Game 7 at Anaheim: Sun. May 12; TBD

 

Canucks-Sharks
Derek Leung, Jeff Gross / Getty Images

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks

The Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7) are a Stanley Cup contender, but the team must shake off memories of past playoff failures to beat the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks (25-16-7). Twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin and newcomer Derek Roy power the Vancouver attack, while San Jose’s Antti Niemi is among the NHL’s most underrated goalies. The Sharks’ Joe Thornton will take aim at either Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo in the Canucks’ net. San Jose won all three games between the teams in the regular season.

Game 1 at Vancouver: Wed. May 1, 10:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 2 at Vancouver: Fri. May 3, 10 p.m.; CNBC
Game 3 at San Jose: Sun. May 5, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at San Jose: Tues. May 7, 10 p.m.; CNBC
*Game 5 at Vancouver: Thurs. May 9; TBD
*Game 6 at San Jose: Sat. May 11; TBD
*Game 7 at Vancouver: Mon. May 13; TBD

 

Blues - Kings
Dilip Vishwanat, Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings

The fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues (29-17-2) draw a formidable first-round opponent in the defending champion-Los Angeles Kings (27-16-5). The Blues were one of the NHL’s hottest teams down the stretch thanks to the play of goaltender Brian Elliott. Chris Stewart led the St. Louis offense with 36 points. The Kings won all three games between the teams in the regular season. If goaltender Jonathan Quick can recapture the magic he had in 2012, Los Angeles could surprise in the playoffs once again.

Game 1 at St. Louis: Tu. Apr. 30, 8 p.m.; CNBC
Game 2 at St. Louis: Thurs. May 2, 9:30 p.m.; CNBC
Game 3 at Los Angeles: Sat. May 4, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
Game 4 at Los Angeles: Tues. May 6, 10 p.m.; NBC Sports Network
*Game 5 at St. Louis: Wed. May 8; TBD
*Game 6 at Los Angeles: Fri. May 10; TBD
*Game 7 at St. Louis: Mon. May 13; TBD

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