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NHL first-round playoff capsules

The SportsXchange

With the Ottawa Senators beating the Boston Bruins 4-2 in the NHL's final regular-season game Sunday, the NHL's first-round playoff matchups were set.

The Bruins, who lost Saturday in overtime to the Washington Capitals before the Sunday defeat, blew a chance to capture the Northeast Division title. Instead, the Montreal Canadiens claimed the division by a single point, taking the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins slipped to the No. 4 seed.

Meanwhile, the Senators sneaked past the New York Islanders to claim the No. 7 seed.

A brief look at the first-round playoff matchups:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins (36-12-0) vs. No. 8 New York Islanders (24-17-7) -- The Penguins reeled off a seven-game winning streak before losing two of their final three regular-season games after they'd clinched the top record in the East.

The big questions is when Penguins star Sidney Crosby might return from a broken jaw. There's no timetable for him to play again. Crosby tied for third in the league with 56 points.

The Penguins, who led the league with 165 goals, had three of the league's top four players in plus-minus rating: Pascal Dupuis (plus-31), Chris Kunitz (plus-30) and Crosby (plus-26).

The Islanders' John Tavares placed third in the league with 28 goals.

Pittsburgh swept the four-game, regular-season series.

No. 2 Montreal Canadiens (29-14-5) vs. No. 7 Ottawa Senators (25-17-6) -- The Canadiens didn't exactly soar to the division title, as they lost six of their final 10 games. However, they won their last two, and that was enough to edge the Bruins.

Ottawa, meanwhile, won six of its last nine, including the finale at Boston.

Senators goalie Craig Anderson led the NHL in two major categories: goals-against average (1.69) and save percentage (.941).

Montreal won two of the teams' three regular-season meetings, with each team winning once in a shootout.

No. 3 Washington Capitals (27-18-3) vs. No. 6 New York Rangers (26-18-4) -- The Capitals surged into the postseason, having won 11 of their last 13 games. The Rangers also finished hot, ending on a 7-2 run.

Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin led the league with 32 goals in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season. Ovechkin also tied for third with 56 points.

The Rangers won two of the three regular-season meetings, losing only in a March 24 shootout.

No. 4 Boston Bruins (28-14-6) vs. No. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs (26-17-5) -- The Bruins needed three points in their last two games to win their Northeast crown, but they wound with two losses and one point. Overall, Boston dropped seven of its last nine games.

Only five teams scored more often this season than Toronto, which finished with 145 goals. The Bruins, meanwhile, allowed the third-fewest goals, 109, thanks in large part to goalie Tuukka Rask, whose 1.97 GAA ranked fourth in the league.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5) vs. No. 8 Minnesota Wild (26-19-3) -- The Blackhawks cruised to the Presidents' Trophy, which goes to the league's top regular-season team. Their 77 points were five more than the Penguins' runner-up total.

The Blackhawks were dominant on both ends of the ice, posting the league's second-highest goal total (155) and allowing the fewest goals (102).

The Wild scored 33 fewer goals than the Blackhawks and ranked tied for 22nd in the NHL with an average of 2.48 goals per game. They tied for 15th in goals against, allowing 2.60 goals a game.

Left wing Zach Parise is their leading scorer with 38 points, including 18 goals.

Chicago won the season series 2-0-1.

No. 2 Anaheim Ducks (30-12-6) vs. No. 7 Detroit Red Wings (24-16-8) -- The Ducks were one of the surprise teams in the NHL this season, but they were just 5-4-1 over their last 10 games.

Anaheim goalie Viktor Fasth was 15-6-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average, but he has never played in a playoff game. Center Ryan Getzlaf leads Anaheim in scoring with 49 points.

Detroit had to scramble to make it into the postseason for the 22nd consecutive year, but the Red Wings come into the postseason on a four-game winning streak.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard has a 2.13 goals-against average, and has 28 games of postseason experience.

Center Pavel Datsyuk is the Red Wings' top scorer with 49 points.

Detroit won the season series 2-1.

No. 3 Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7) vs. No. 6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-7) -- The Canucks lost all three regular-season games against the Sharks, and Vancouver lost five of its final eight games overall.

The Canucks rank 19th in the NHL in scoring, averaging 2.54 goals a game, while yielding 2.40 goals per game. Henrik Sedin is their top scorer with 45 points.

The Sharks did not finish the season very well either, losing three of their last four games. They rank sixth in the NHL in scoring defense, yielding just 2.33 goals per game, and goalie Antti Niemi has a 2.16 goals-against average.

Center Joe Thornton leads the team in scoring with 40 points, which includes just seven goals.

No. 4 St. Louis Blues (29-17-2) vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Kings (27-16-5) -- The Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champs, won all three games against the Blues during the regular season, outscoring the Blues 14-7.

The Blues have made significant improvement since Ken Hitchcock was named their head coach early in the season. They were 6-7 when he took over before finishing among the West's top teams.

The Blues ended the regular season with three straight wins, and they won 12 of their final 15 games.

The Kings came in 10th in the NHL in scoring at 2.73 goals per game. Center Anze Kopitar is their leading scorer with 42 points, including 10 goals.

Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick has a 2.45 goals-against average.
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