2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 5/15: Start times, how to watch & open thread

The North Division is wrapping up its regular season and the Canucks could improve the Sharks’ lottery odds with some wins.

The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight, but the North Division is still putting a bow on the regular season, as coronavirus outbreaks caused a significant number of game delays. They’ll join in on the postseason soon, as the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers are set to begin their series on Wednesday, and the Toronto Maple Leafs face off against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

It’s a long off-season until the San Jose Sharks return to the ice, so throughout the playoffs, we’ll keep you updated on the postseason and how to tune in.

As for rooting interest, Sharks fans are going to want Vancouver to rack up the wins in their final stretch of four games. The Canucks sit at 28th overall with 45 points. With three wins, they would leapfrog over the Sharks, who are at 25th overall with 49 points.

Here’s the NHL schedule for May 15:

Regular Season

12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET — Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers
NHLN, ESPN+, SN, fubotv

A fairly low-stakes games, the Edmonton Oilers sit second in the North Division, with one game remaining. The Toronto Maple Leafs have clinched the Division, leaving just the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks as the only teams who are still waiting to find out where they’ll finish in the standings. As both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, there will be some continued overlap between the end of the regular season and hockey that matters.

East Division First Round

4:15 p.m. PT/7:15 p.m. ET — Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports

The opening series of playoffs is sure to be heated. These two powerhouses haven’t met in a playoffs series since 2012 — though they did face off during the 2020 postseason Eastern Conference seeding round, where the Capitals won 2-1.

Capitals defender Zdeno Chara — who spent 14 seasons as the Bruins’ captain — will be just the seventh player to compete in the playoffs at age 44 or older.