The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday, and here is a preview of the five series starting that day.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs start wednesday

In the Eastern Division, the NHL-leading Washington Capitals will play the Toronto Maple Leafs, while the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will host the rival Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Dvision.

In the Atlantic group, the division champion Montreal Canadiens face the wild-card New York Rangers, and the Ottawa Senators hold home-ice advantage over the Boston Bruins.

In the West, the Central Division champion Chicago Blackhawks first play the wild-card Nashville Predators. The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, will enjoy home-ice advantage against former coach Mike Yeo and the St. Louis Blues.


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Finally, on the Pacific side, the division champion Anaheim Ducks play the wild-card Calgary Flames, while the Edmonton Oilers will host the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks.

The postseason begins in Ottawa and Montreal on Wednesday, with the Habs back in the playoffs against the Rangers, whom they lost to in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, and the Senators, who host the Bruins.

All other teams except for Washington, Toronto, Chicago, Nashville, Anaheim and Calgary play on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Capitals and Maple Leafs play in Washington, the Blackhawks host the Predators, and the Ducks host the Flames.

Nine of the 16 playoff-qualifying teams have a different coach than the one they started last season with: the Canadiens (Claude Julien), Senators (Guy Boucher), Penguins (Mike Sullivan), Blue Jackets (John Tortorella), Bruins (Bruce Cassidy), Wild (Bruce Boudreau), Blues (Mike Yeo), Ducks (Randy Carlyle) and Flames (Glen Gulutzan).

Toronto and Washington have never faced off in an NHL playoff series.

Bruins rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo’s status remains uncertain after he was injured on a hit from Alex Ovechkin on Saturday.

The Rangers defeated the Penguins 3-2 at home in their regular season finale on Sunday night.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 09: Patric Hornqvist #72 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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