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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Conference finals schedule, results, updated bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Conference finals schedule, results, updated bracket

The Capitals finally exorcised their demons when they took down the Penguins in Pittsburgh to clinch s second round victory in six games. They allowed themselves to celebrate, and all of D.C. joined in. Now, they must move on to face an even better opponent: the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

In reaching their first Eastern Conference Final since 1998, which also happens to be the last year the Capitals advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, the Caps have earned the right to face a powerhouse team. The Lightning lead the Eastern Conference with 113 points in the regular season, and they easily dispatched the second-place Bruins in just five games during the second round. 

The Caps will have to hope their offense stays hot along with Braden Holtby in goal, and they'll rely on their impressive play on the road to continue this postseason.

The other side of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff bracket is set as well, with the Western Conference Final pitting Winnipeg against Las Vegas for the right to face the winner of Washington-Tampa Bay.

The Golden Knights, are somehow still playing strong in their inaugural season. After finishing first in the Pacific Division, sweeping their first-ever playoff series, and advancing past the Sharks in six games, they now face the Jets. Winnipeg finished the regular season with 114 points, the second-highest total in the NHL, though also second-most within their own division.

The Jets took down Stanly Cup-favorite Nashville in the second-round, and they'll now try to become the first time ever to eliminate the Golden Knights. It's a different look for the NHL's final four teams than fans have grown accustomed to in recent years, but that shouldn't make the Conference Finals any less exciting. It's been a wild first few rounds, and now, teams are one series win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Here is the full Eastern Conference Final schedule for the Capitals.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING 2018 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (A1): Washington leads 1-0

Game 1: Friday, 5/11 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN. Capitals 4, Lightning 2
Game 2: Capitals at Lightning. Sunday, 5/13 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN
Game 3: Lightning at Capitals. Tuesday, 5/15 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN
Game 4: Lightning at Capitals. Thursday, 5/17 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN
Game 5 (if Necessary): Capitals at Lightning. Saturday, 5/19 at 7:15 p.m. on NBC
Game 6 (If Necessary): Lightning at Capitals. Monday, 5/21 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN
Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Lightning. Wednesday, 5/23 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (C2)

Game 1: Knights at Jets. Saturday, 5/12 at 7 p.m. on NBC
Game 2: Knights at Jets. Monday, 5/14 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN.
Game 3: Jets at Knights. Wednesday, 5/16 at 9 p.m. on NBCSN. 
Game 4: Jets at Knights. Friday, 5/18 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN.
Game 5 (If Necessary): Knights at Jets. Sunday, 5/20 at 3 p.m. on NBC. 
Game 6 (If Necessary): Jets at Knights. Tuesday, 5/22 at 9 p.m. on NBCSN.
Game 7 (If Necessary): Knights at Jets. Thursday, 5/24 at TBD. on NBCSN.

CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS 2018 NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (M2): Washington wins 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, 4/26 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Penguins 3, Capitals 2
Game 2: Sunday, 4/29 at 3 p.m. on NBC. Capitals 4, Penguins 1
Game 3: Tuesday, 5/1 at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Capitals 4, Penguins 3
Game 4: Thursday, 5/3 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Penguins 3, Capitals 1
Game 5: Saturday, 5/5 at 7 p.m. on NBC. Capitals 6, Penguins 3
Game 6: Monday, 5/7 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Capitals 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT)

EASTERN CONFERENCE SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE

Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs. Boston Bruins (A2): Tampa Bay wins 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, 4/28 at 3 p.m. on NBC. Bruins 6, Lightning 2
Game 2: Monday, 4/30 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Lightning 4, Bruins 2
Game 3: Wednesday, 5/2 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Lightning 4, Bruins 1
Game 4: Friday, 5/4, 7at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Lightning 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Game 5: Sunday, 5/6 at 3 p.m on NBC. Lightning 3, Bruins 1

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Nashville Predators (C1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (C2): Winnipeg wins 4-3

Game 1: Friday, 4/27 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN. Jets 4, Predators 1
Game 2: Sunday, 4/29 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Predators 5, Jets 4 (2OT)
Game 3: Tuesday, 5/1 at 8 p.m. on CNBC. Jets 7, Predators 4
Game 4: Thursday, 5/3 at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Predators 2, Jets 1
Game 5: Saturday, 5/5 at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Jets 6, Predators 2
Game 6: Monday, 5/7 at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Predators 4, Jets 0
Game 7: Thursday, 5/10 at 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN. Jets 5, Predators 1

Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. San Jose Sharks (P3): Las Vegas wins 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, 4/26 at 10 p.m. on NBCSN. Golden Knights 7, Sharks 0
Game 2: Saturday, 4/28 at 8 p.m. on NBC. Sharks 4, Golden Knights 3 (2OT)
Game 3: Monday, 4/30 at 10 p.m. on NBCSN. Golden Knights 4, Sharks 3 (OT)
Game 4: Wednesday, 5/2 at 10 p.m. on NBCSN. Sharks 4, Golden Knights 0
Game 5: Friday, 5/4 at 10 p.m. on NBCSN. Golden Knights 5, Sharks 3
Game 6: Sunday, 5/6 at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Golden Knights 3, Sharks 0

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1): Capitals win series 4-2
Game 1
: Thursday, 4/12 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on NBC Sports Washington. Blue Jackets 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
Game 2: Sunday, 4/15 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on NBC Sports Washington. Blue Jackets 5, Capitals 4 (OT)
Game 3: Tuesday, 4/17 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on NBC Sports Washington. Capitals 3, Blue Jackets 2 (2OT)
Game 4: Thursday, 4/19 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on NBC Sports Washington. Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 1
Game 5: Saturday, 4/21 at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Game 6: Wednesday, 4/23 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. Capitals 6, Blue Jackets 3

Pittsburgh Penguins (M2) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (M3): Penguins win series 4-2
Game 1: Wednesday. 4/11 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Penguins 7, Flyers 0
Game 2: Friday, 4/13 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Flyers 5, Penguins 1
Game 3: Sunday, 4/15 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Penguins 5, Flyers 1
Game 4: Wednesday. 4/18 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Penguins 5, Flyers 0
Game 5: Friday, 4/20 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Flyers 4, Penguins 2
Game 6: Sunday, 4/22 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Penguins 8, Flyers 5

Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs. New Jersey Devils (WC2): Lightning win series 4-1
Game 1: Thursday, 4/12 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Lightning 5, Devils 2
Game 2: Saturday, 4/14 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Lightning 4, Devils 3
Game 3: Monday, 4/16 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Devils 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Wednesday, 4/18 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Lightning 3, Devils 1
Game 5: Saturday, 4/21 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Lightning 3, Devils 1

Boston Bruins (A2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (A3): Bruins win series 4-3
Game 1: Thursday, 4/12 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 1
Game 2: Saturday, 4/14 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Bruins 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Monday, 4/16 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 2
Game 4: Thursday, 4/19 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Bruins 3, Maple Leafs 1
Game 5: Saturday, 4/21 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3
Game 6: Monday, 4/23 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Maple Leafs 3, Bruins 1
Game 7: Wednesday, 4/25 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Bruins 7, Maple Leafs 4

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (WC1): Golden Knights win series 4-0
Game 1: Wednesday, 4/11 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Golden Knights 1, Kings 0
Game 2: Friday, 4/13 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Golden Knights 2, Kings 1 (2OT)
Game 3: Sunday, 4/15 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Golden Knights 3, Kings 2
Game 4: Tuesday, 4/17 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Golden Knights 1, Kings 0

Anaheim Ducks (P2) vs. San Jose Sharks (P3): Sharks win series 4-0
Game 1: Thursday, 4/12 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Sharks 3, Ducks 0
Game 2: Saturday, 4/14 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Sharks 3, Ducks 2
Game 3: Monday, 4/16 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Sharks 8, Ducks 1
Game 4: Wednesday, 4/18 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Sharks 2, Ducks 1

Nashville Predators (C1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (WC2): Predators win series 4-2
Game 1: Thursday, 4/12 at 9;30 p.m. ET. Predators 5, Avalanche 2
Game 2: Saturday, 4/14 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Predators 5, Avalanche 3
Game 3: Monday, 4/10 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Avalanche 5, Predators 3
Game 4: Wednesday, 4/18 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Predators 3, Avalanche 2
Game 5: Friday, 4/20, 9:30 p.m. ET. Avalanche 2, Predators 1
Game 6: Sunday, 4/22, 7:00 p.m. ET. Predators 5, Avalanche 0

Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs. Minnesota Wild (C3): Jets win series 4-1
Game 1: Wednesday, 4/11 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Jets 3, Wild 2
Game 2: Friday, 4/13 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Jets 4, Wild 1
Game 3: Sunday, 4/15 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Wild 6, Jets 2
Game 4: Tuesday 4/17 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Jets 2, Wild 0
Game 5: Friday, 4/20 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Jets 5, Wild 0

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?

Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:

1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.

Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.

2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.

There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.

Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.

The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.

4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.

5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.

Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

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Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

The wait is finally over. 

After two decades, the Capitals are back in the Stanley Cup Final. 

After a convincing 4-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Capitals are in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. They'll be facing off against a handful of familiar names, with former Caps GM George McPhee, fan favorite Nate Schmidt, and ex-Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fluery are just a few of the names that'll be suiting up for Vegas. 

What will the X-factors in the series be? Who will be the unexpected heroes of Game 1? The action is almost underway, and here are all the details you need to know.

Game 1 Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV.
TV Channel: NBCSN 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 FM)

WHEN IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES?

Game 1 of the Capitals-Golden Knights 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

WHAT TV CHANNEL IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 1 between the Capitals and Golden Knights is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

5:00 p.m. — Caps Cup Preview
6:00 p.m. — Caps GameDay Live
6:30 p.m. — Caps Face Off
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 1 Capitals vs. Golden Knights
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1?

Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.

CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.