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The second season is about to begin. It’s locked in: The Devils will play the Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The schedule is as follows: [via NHL]
-Game 1: Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m.: Devils @ Lightning. TV: NHL Network, SN, TVA Sports.
-Game 2: Saturday, April 14, 3 p.m.: Devils @ Lightning. TV: NBC, CNBC, SN360, TVA Sports.
-Game 3: Monday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.: Lightning @ Devils. TV: CNBC, SN, TVA Sports.
-Game 4: Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.: Lightning @ Devils. TV: GOLF (Uhhh, what?), SN, TVA Sports
-Game 5: Saturday, April 21, time TBD: Devils @ Lightning. TV: TBD.
-Game 6: Monday, April 23, time TBD: Lightning @ Devils. TV: TBD.
-Game 7: Wednesday, April 25, time TBD: Devils @ Lightning. TV: TBD.
Patrick Maroon put together an impressive game as the Devils rested a few players and rounded out the season with a 5-3 loss to the Capitals on Saturday. [The Record] [NJ.com]
The Devils finished with 97 points, just a single point ahead of the Panthers.
The Devils finished one point ahead of the Panthers, so they literally needed every point of their 10-3-1 finish to get into the postseason.— Chris Ryan (@ChrisRyan_NJ) April 9, 2018
The national outlets have pumped out roughly 500 “Taylor Hall’s rebirth as a New Jersey Devil” pieces this season, but I’m going to read every one. Here’s a new one ahead of Hall’s first NHL playoff game: [Sportsnet]
We’re doing a bracket challenge for the playoffs over at NHL.com. Join us! Password: “hallforhart” [NHL]
Here’s the full playoffs field: [via NHL] Any matchups you’re particularly excited about?
Tampa Bay-New Jersey
With his KHL season over, our old friend confirms his desire to come back to the NHL. Given some of Shero’s previous comments, it doesn’t seem likely Kovalchuk makes a return to New Jersey, but you never know. Would you take Kovalchuk back?
Ilya Kovalchuk said he's going to play in the NHL next season. And stay there for 2-3 years at least— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 8, 2018
With the regular season over, Connor McDavid claimed his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as the league’s scoring champion, Alex Ovechkin took his seventh career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer and Jonathan Quick won his second career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals. [NHL]
The Rangers became the first team to fire their head coach this season in sending Alain Vigneault packing. Vigneault had been with New York since 2013 and won 226 games during that time. [ESPN]
Just an awful story: On their way to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game, a bus crash killed 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos organization over the weekend. [New York Times]
Feel free to discuss these and any other hockey-related stories in the comments below.