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Press Box: NHL releases playoff schedule

The SportsXchange

The NHL released the playoff schedule Sunday, scheduling engaging first-round matchups starting Wednesday and Thursday.

Defending Stanley Cup champion Boston is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and will open Thursday night against seventh-seeded Washington.

The Vancouver Canucks, the defending Western Conference champions, will again be the top seed in the west, and open Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Top-seeded in the east, the New York Rangers start Thursday against Ottawa. Florida takes on New Jersey in the 3-6 matchup in the east.

The marquee opening-round series is between No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Philadelphia. Those teams do not enjoy each other's company. They get under way Wednesday.

The St. Louis Blues will face the San Jose Sharks in the west's 2-7 matchup, and Phoenix will face Chicago in the 3-6 series. Nashville travels to Detroit to open against the Red Wings on Wednesday.

---Boston Bruins winger Nathan Horton is unlikely to join the defending Stanley Cup champions for the playoffs, according to reports.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters it's a "longshot" that Horton returns for the playoffs after missing the last 36 games because of a second concussion in seven months.

Horton was originally injured in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs when the Canucks' Aaron Rome leveled him with a cheap shot at the blue line.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

--- Pittsburgh landed a talent basketball player for the fall of 2013 when Central Michigan guard Trey Zeigler chose the Panthers over Duke and UCLA.

Former Central Michigan coach Ernie Zeigler told ESPN.com that his son will play for Jamie Dixon at Pitt. Zeigler and Dixon were assistants together under Ben Howland at Pitt.

Trey Zeigler averaged 16.3 points as a freshman and 15.8 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore. He will sit out the 2012-13 season and have two seasons of eligibility left, his father told ESPN.com.

GOLF

--- Sergio Garcia is lacking self-confidence. The golfer once considered a rising golf star told reporters Saturday that he doesn't think he has the game to win a major championship.

Garcia shot a 75 to fall out of contention at the Masters on Saturday. After making generally innocuous comments to the English-speaking media, the Spaniard told a different tale to the Spanish-speaking contingent.

"I'm not good enough ... I don't have the thing I need to have," Garcia said in Spanish. His comments were translated for the Augusta Chronicle. "In 13 years I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place."

Asked if he meant in the Masters, Garcia said, "In any major."

TENNIS

---John Isner sent the United States into the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2008 when he overpowered Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 7-6 (4) 5-7, 6-3.

Isner used a big serve that was only broken once to ride to the win and set up a match against Spain.

"I if play like I have this weekend, I can beat a lot of people," Isner told reporters. "Beating Gilles (Simon on Friday) and beating Jo are two very good wins. If I can keep this level up, I am going to be very hard to beat."

SOCCER

---Arsenal damaged Manchester City's Premier League title hopes by beating Manchester City 1-0 on Sunday. Mikel Arteta scored the game-winner late in the game, and Manchester City finished with 10 players after Mario Balotelli was shown a red card.

Manchester United had earlier opened up an eight-point lead over City with a 2-0 victory over QPR.

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