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Chicago Blackhawks Kick Off Stanley Cup Playoffs Thursday Night

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Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate a goal by right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate a goal by right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the NHL had important regular-season finales rolling into the night Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks awaited their playoff schedule for a first-round series against the Nashville Predators

Remind the NHL never to schedule West Coast night games on the last day of the regular season. Those might turn out to be important, as Chicago Blackhawks and other fans found out Sunday while awaiting the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule.

After Anaheim pushed its game against Los Angeles to overtime (eventually winning), the field was set across the board. Here are the matchups in the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ first round:

Eastern Conference matchups

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Western Conference matchups

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will be in the second group of teams kicking off the postseason, as they’ll start their series against Nashville at 7 p.m. Thursday. Much better than the 8:30 p.m. start Blackhawks fans are so used to (don’t worry, we’ll talk about that later).

The two teams will square off at the same time Saturday as well, again at the United Center. The reason the Blackhawks and Preds are starting Thursday is due to the Chicago Bulls having a game scheduled at the UC on Wednesday as well.

Blackhawks-Predators first-round schedule

Game 1: Thursday, 7 p.m. at United Center (Comcast SportsNet)

Game 2: Saturday, 7 p.m. at United Center (NBC)

Game 3: Monday, 8:30 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena (Comcast SportsNet)

Game 4: Thursday, April 20, TBD at Bridgestone Arena (TBD)

*Game 5: Saturday, April 22, TBD at United Center (TBD)

*Game 6: Monday, April 24, TBD at Bridgestone Arena (TBD)

*Game 7: Wednesday, April 26, TBD at United Center (TBD)

*if necessary

Sadly, the 8:30 p.m. start returns for Game 3 of this series, sure to make everyone happy early in the week. Another scheduling conflict cropped up for Game 4, as Bridgestone is slated to host a Neil Diamond concert next Wednesday. So that game will be Thursday at a to-be-determined time.

You’ll get the voices of Pat Foley and (probably) Steve Konroyd for the CSN games, unless Ed Olczyk is freed up from national commitments for Games 1 and 3. No doubt he’ll be on the call for NBC in Game 2.

Next: 3 Key Players For Chicago, Nashville

We’ll have more on the Blackhawks-Predators series over the next several days, in addition to what we’ve already produced. So stay tuned for that. Until then, here’s the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for the opening round.

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