NHL playoffs 2016: Bracket, schedule, scores and more

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here, and besides the only clear-cut favorite there are 15 other teams that could have legitimate shots at winning the 2016 Stanley Cup.

That favorite is the Washington Capitals, fresh off one of the best seasons of any NHL team in recent memory. Behind coach Barry Trotz, winger Alex Ovechkin and goalie Braden Holtby, the Caps field the strongest team in the playoffs this year. But no series is a given in the NHL postseason, and even their first-round matchup (the Philadelphia Flyers) have been a tough out for most opponents in the final weeks of the regular season.

Aside from the Capitals, a couple of the best regular season teams face plenty of questions in the playoffs. The Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers enjoyed franchise-best seasons, but both are in the unfamiliar role as front-runners. Their youth and inexperience will be tested throughout the playoffs.

And there are still a number of teams with something to prove in the first round. The St. Louis Blues will feel the pressure of finally beating the Chicago Blackhawks to advance out of the first round this year, and the Anaheim Ducks will once again ride in with a Pacific Division crown and lofty expectations upon their shoulders. And the New York Rangers‘ window is closing; can they extend it against a formidable Pittsburgh Penguins team?

Plenty of intrigue this year. We can’t wait.

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. Florida Panthers – 103 points
2. Tampa Bay Lightning – 97 points
3. Detroit Red Wings – 93 points

Metropolitan Division
1. Washington Capitals – 120 points
2. Pittsburgh Penguins – 104 points
3. New York Rangers – 101 points

Wild Cards
1. New York Islanders – 100 points
2. Philadelphia Flyers – 96 points

Western Conference

Central Division
1. Dallas Stars – 109 points
2. St. Louis Blues – 107 points
3. Chicago Blackhawks – 103 points

Pacific Division
1. Anaheim Ducks – 103 points
2. Los Angeles Kings – 102 points
3. San Jose Sharks – 98 points

Wild Cards
1. Nashville Predators – 96 points
2. Minnesota Wild – 87 points

Bracket

(Source)

Schedule and results

All times Eastern
*if necessary

First round

Wednesday, April 13
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 1: Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Detroit Red Wings 2 (recap)
Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, NY Rangers 2 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: St. Louis Blues 1, Chicago Blackhawks 0 (recap)

Thursday, April 14
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: Washington Capitals 2, Philadelphia Flyers 0 (recap)
Game 1: NY Islanders 5, Florida Panthers 4 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 1: Dallas Stars 4, Minnesota Wild 0 (recap)
Game 1: San Jose Sharks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (recap)

Friday, April 15
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Detroit Red Wings 2 (recap)
Game 2: Florida Panthers 3, New York Islanders 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: Chicago Blackhawks 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (recap)
Game 1: Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (recap)

Saturday, April 16
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: NY Rangers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (recap)
Game 2: Washington Capitals 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 2: Dallas Stars 2, Minnesota Wild 1 (recap)
Game 2: San Jose Sharks 2, Los Angeles Kings 1 (recap)

Sunday, April 17
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 3: Detroit Red Wings 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 0 (recap)
Game 3: NY Islanders 4, Florida Panthers 3 OT (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: St. Louis Blues 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2 (recap)
Game 2: Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (recap)

Monday, April 18
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: Washington Capitals 6, Philadelphia Flyers 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3: Minnesota Wild 5, Dallas Stars 3 (recap)
Game 3: Los Angeles Kings 2, San Jose Sharks 1 OT (recap)

Tuesday, April 19
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Detroit Red Wings 2 (recap)
Game 3: Pittsburgh Penguins 3, NY Rangers 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3 (recap)
Game 3: Anaheim Ducks 3, Nashville Predators 0 (recap)

Wednesday, April 20
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Philadelphia Flyers 2, Washington Capitals 1 (recap)
Game 4: Florida Panthers 2, NY Islanders 1 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Dallas Stars 3, Minnesota Wild 2 (recap)
Game 4: San Jose Sharks 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (recap)

Thursday, April 21
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 4: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, NY Rangers 0 (recap)
Game 5: Tampa Bay Lightning 1, Detroit Red Wings 0 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4: Anaheim Ducks 4, Nashville Predators 1 (recap)
Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks 4, St. Louis Blues 3, 2 OT (recap)

Friday, April 22
Eastern Conference quarterfinals
Game 5: Philadelphia Flyers 2, Washington Capitals 0 (recap)
Game 5: NY Islanders 2, Florida Panthers 1, 2OT (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 5: Minnesota Wild 5, Dallas Stars 4, OT (recap)
Game 5: San Jose Sharks 6, Los Angeles Kings 3 (recap)

Saturday, April 23
Eastern Conference quarterfinals 
Game 5: Pittsburgh Penguins 6, NY Rangers 3 (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 6: Chicago Blackhawks 6, St. Louis Blues 3 (recap)
Game 5: Anaheim Ducks 5, Nashville Predators 2 (recap)

Sunday, April 24
Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Game 6: Washington Capitals 1, Philadelphia Flyers 0 (recap)
Game 6: NY Islanders 2, Florida Panthers 1, 2 OT (recap)
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 6: Dallas Stars 5, Minnesota Wild 4 (recap)

Monday, April 25
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 7: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
Game 6: Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators

Wednesday, April 27
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 7*: Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

Second round

TBD

Conference finals

TBD

Stanley Cup Final

TBD

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