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Two Eastern Conference playoff series set

Penguins will face Blue Jackets, Rangers to take on Canadiens in first round

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The New York Rangers will play the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets also will play a first-round series after the Washington Capitals clinched the Metropolitan Division with a 2-0 win against the Rangers on Wednesday. The Penguins are 2-1-1 against the Blue Jackets this regular season and defeated them in six games in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.

Pittsburgh (49-19-11) leads Columbus (49-22-8) by three points (109-106) to determine home-ice advantage in their series. Each team has three games remaining.

Montreal (46-25-9, 101 points) won the Atlantic Division. New York (47-27-6, 100 points) will enter the playoffs as the first Eastern wild card. The Rangers lost all three games to the Canadiens this regular season but defeated them in six games to win the 2014 Eastern Conference Final.

Washington (54-18-8) will play the second Eastern wild card, either the Ottawa Senators (42-27-10, 94 points), Boston Bruins (44-30-6, 94 points), Toronto Maple Leafs (39-25-15, 93 points), New York Islanders (38-29-12, 88 points) or Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10, 88 points).

Two of Boston, Ottawa, Toronto and Tampa Bay will compete in the other Eastern series.

The playoffs begin April 12.

No Western Conference series has been determined.

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