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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Blackhawks to play Golden Knights in first round

Chicago will play Vegas in the playoffs for the first time.

Chicago Blackhawks v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks will play the Golden Knights, the Western Conference’s top seed, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in a best-of-seven first-round series.

Chicago, the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference (.514 regular-season points percentage), upset the No. 5 Oilers (.585) in four games in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017. It was the Blackhawks’ first postseason series victory since they won the 2015 Stanley Cup Final in six games against the Lightning.

The Golden Knights defeated the Avalanche 4-3 in overtime Saturday in a round-robin game to claim the top seed in the West. Colorado will play the No. 11 Coyotes (.529), who upset the No. 6 Predators (.565) in four games. Vegas (.606) was in third place in the West behind the Blues (.662) and Avalanche (.657) when the NHL was paused March 12 due to health concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

The first round is expected to begin Tuesday, but it’s unknown if the Chicago-Vegas series will start on that day. The full first-round schedule will be announced at a later date.

The Blackhawks are 1-7-1 all time against the Golden Knights. Chicago became the last NHL team to defeat Vegas with a 5-3 win Nov. 13, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Season series

Oct. 22: Vegas 2-1 in shootout

Nov. 14: Chicago 5-3

Dec. 11: Vegas 5-1

William Karlsson scored three points (two goals, one assist), and seven Vegas players each scored two points in the season series. Marc-Andre Fleury was 2-1-0 with a 2.29 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Dylan Strome led the Blackhawks with four points (one goal, three assists) against the Golden Knights, and Kirby Dach (two goals, one assist) and Kane (one goal, two assists) each scored three points. Corey Crawford was 1-1-0 with a 4.01 GAA and .899 save percentage.

The Golden Knights have made the playoffs every year since their inception in 2017. Vegas won the West then fell to the Capitals in five games in the 2017 Cup Final then fell to the Sharks in seven games in the 2018 quarterfinals.