NHL announces Stanley Cup playoffs schedule, North Division last to begin

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The NHL released its schedule for the opening round of the 2020-21 playoffs on Thursday, with the all-Canadian North Division starting its series a couple of days later than the U.S.-based divisions.

The first-round matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, the first playoff series between the two in 42 years, is set to start May 20, in Toronto. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will open their first playoff series in 42 years May 20 at Scotiabank Arena.

The NHL released its schedule for the opening round of the 2020-21 playoffs on Thursday, with the all-Canadian North Division starting its series a couple of days later than the U.S.-based divisions.

Playoff action in the all-Canadian division kicks off next Wednesday when the Edmonton Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets. The regular season ends the same day with the last of four matchups between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

Vancouver needed an extension to its regular season after 11 of its games were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

Both North Division matchups will feature back-to-back contests for Games 3 and 4.

Montreal will host Toronto May 24 and 25, and Winnipeg will entertain Edmonton May 23 and 24.

WATCH | How the Habs-Leafs playoff rivalry came to be:

It’s official, the Leafs and Habs will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1979. Rob Pizzo goes back over 100 years into the archives to examine hockey’s oldest rivalry. 4:28

The two series in the West Division will start Sunday and Monday. The Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche were still vying for top spot heading into Thursday’s games. Minnesota and St. Louis have the third and fourth seeds respectively.

WATCH | Stanley Cup playoff preview: East division

The East sees Sidney Crosby beginning pursuit of his fourth Stanley Cup, and Big Z facing his former team. 2:23

The top-seeded Carolina Hurricanes kick off their Central Division series Monday in Raleigh, N.C., against Nashville, while the second-seeded Florida Panthers kick off their series against defending champion and state rival Tampa Bay on Sunday in Sunrise, Fla.

In the East Division, the top-seeded Penguins and the New York Islanders get started Sunday in Pittsburgh, while the No. 2 Washington Capitals welcome Boston on Saturday for Game 1 of that series.

WATCH | Stanley Cup playoff preview: Central division

The defending champion Lightning will get some star power back as they look to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. 2:23

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