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2017 NHL playoffs: Conference finals preview (schedule, predictions)

Four teams remain in the pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Predators captain Mike Fisher drives toward the Ducks net during a 2016-17 regular season game. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators are playing in their first-ever Western Conference final against the Ducks, who won the Cup back in 2007. (Photo: Getty Images)

After the dust from four series and two Game 7's cleared, the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs are down to just four teams.

The legs will surely grow a bit more tired, the beards a bit longer and the tension more palpable. But for the men suiting up for the Eastern and Western Conference finals, the ultimate goal is within reach. 

For fans invested in one of the remaining teams or for those who just can't get enough of playoff hockey, here is how you can catch every game and who I think will advance to the Stanley Cup Final:

 

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators

Game 1: Saturday, May 13, 7 p.m. Ottawa at Pittsburgh (NBC)

Game 2: Monday, May 15, 8 p.m. Ottawa at Pittsburgh (NBCSN)

Game 3: Wednesday, May 17, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Ottawa (NBCSN)

Game 4: Friday, May 19, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Ottawa (NBCSN)

Game 5*: Sunday, May 21, 3 p.m. Ottawa at Pittsburgh (NBC)

Game 6*: Tuesday, May 23, 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Ottawa (NBCSN)

Game 7*: Thursday, May 25, 8 p.m. Ottawa at Pittsburgh (NBCSN)

Prediction: Ottawa is too inconsistent on the road and just not physical enough to deal with a deep, fast Penguins team. With an injured Erik Karlsson admirably leading the way, the Senators don't have enough to get under the skin of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin like the Capitals attempted to do last round. Once the likes of Matt Cullen and Bryan Rust get their legs moving, the Penguins will be skating circles around the Senators. Don't forget Marc-Andre Fleury is once again stepping up big-time in goal when the spotlight is brightest. Pittsburgh in 5.

 

Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators

Game 1: Friday, May 12, 9 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBCSN)

Game 2: Sunday, May 14, 7:30 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBCSN)

Game 3: Tuesday, May 16, 8 p.m.Anaheim at Nashville (NBCSN)

Game 4: Thursday, May 18, 8 p.m. Anaheim at Nashville (NBCSN)

Game 5*: Saturday, May 20, 7:15 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBC)

Game 6*: Monday, May 22, 8 p.m. Anaheim at Nashville (NBCSN)

Game 7*: Wednesday, May 24, 9 p.m. Nashville at Anaheim (NBCSN)

Prediction: Nashville is undoubtedly the hottest remaining team in this postseason. With a gritty Ducks team that is going to do everything in their power to slow the game down, the Predators won't have as easy a time compared to the first two rounds against the Blackhawks and Blues (go figure). However, John Gibson has been far too inconsistent in goal and we've seen these series come down to the play of the men in net. If that's the case, I'll take Pekka Rinne every time. Nashville in 7.

 

*-if necessary 

 
 
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