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April 2018
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NHL Morning Skate for Monday, April 9, 2018: Bracket, schedule confirmed for 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs; Lightning claim first place in Eastern Conference; Final two matchups set for the postseason, Devils-Lightning and Maple Leafs-Bruins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRACKET, SCHEDULE CONFIRMED FOR 2018 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The schedule for the First Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs was announced following the conclusion of the regular-season finale, a contest that decided the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the final two postseason matchups. Click here for the full schedule, including broadcast information.

* NHL fans worldwide can begin to share their predictions in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge. Early registration is open at NHL.com/Bracket for fans interested in facing off against friends, family, colleagues, hockey experts and fellow hockey fans in public or privately created leagues.

SUNDAY’S RESULT
Home Team in Caps

Florida 4, BOSTON 2

LIGHTNING CLAIM FIRST PLACE IN EASTERN CONFERENCE
By virtue of a Bruins loss, the idle Lightning (54-23-5, 113 points) clinched first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the second time in franchise history and first since 2003-04, when they won the Stanley Cup.

FINAL TWO MATCHUPS SET FOR 2018 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF
The 1,271st and final game of the 2017-18 regular season decided the final two matchups for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

* The Lightning (No. 1 Atlantic) will face the Devils (Wild Card 2) in the First Round. New Jersey has won each of the other two series, including their last meeting in the 2007 Conference Quarterfinals (4-2 W).

* The Bruins (No. 2 Atlantic) will face the Maple Leafs (No. 3 Atlantic) in the First Round, their 15th postseason meeting and first since Boston’s victory in the 2013 Conference Quarterfinals (4-3 W). Toronto owns an 8-6 series edge in the previous 14 matchups.

PANTHERS END SEASON WITH FIVE WINS IN SEVEN DAYS
The Panthers finished the regular season with five straight wins but fell just short of a berth in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They became the 13th team in NHL history to post five victories in a seven-day span and first since San Jose from Jan. 18-24, 2017. Florida shared the League lead with 24 wins from Feb. 1 through the end of the regular season (24-8-2, 50 points), tied with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Predators (24-6-4, 52 points).

* The Panthers finished one point back of the Devils (44-29-9, 97 points), who secured the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida’s quest for a berth in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs is chronicled in Home Team: Florida Panthers, with the second episode airing on Tuesday, April 10.

McDAVID, OVECHKIN AND QUICK CAPTURE 2017-18 REGULAR-SEASON TROPHIES

Oilers captain Connor McDavid captured his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin claimed his seventh career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader and Jonathan Quick of the Kings won his second career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals. Click here for more information.

QUICK CLICKS

· 2018 NHL Draft Lottery odds announced

· Facts and Figures: Avalanche complete turnaround season

· Golden Knights timeline for success exceeded all expectations (via Nick Cotsonika)

· NHL community reacts to fatal bus crash involving Humboldt Broncos (via Mike Morreale)

· Bruins celebrate Rene Rancourt‘s final regular-season game Sunday

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com