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NHL announces first-round playoff schedule; Montreal to play Wednesday

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Montreal Canadiens will be on the ice in one of three first-round series as the NHL playoffs kick off Wednesday.

Montreal, the only Canadian team to advance to the playoffs, will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 after the league announced its first-round schedule Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Dallas Stars visit the Anaheim Ducks in the other pair of games Wednesday.

Four series get underway Thursday.

The New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference, while in the West the Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings meet in San Jose, the Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild, and the Blues take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in St. Louis.

The Boston Bruins, who finished the regular season as the NHL's best team, begin the playoffs Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

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