Eastern Conference playoff series are set

The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will continue their bitter rivalry in the playoffs, meeting for a record 33rd time in the post-season. It is one of four intriguing Eastern Conference first round matchups.

The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will continue their bitter rivalry in the playoffs.

All four Eastern Conference first round playoff series were finalized as a result of Saturday's games.

The Canadiens and Bruins will meet for the 33rd time in the playoffs, the most of any two NHL clubs. Montreal has won 24 of those, although the Bruins swept the Habs in the last series in 2009.

More fuel was added to the rivalry in early March when Boston captain and defenceman Zdeno Chara sent Montreal forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion at Bell Centre with a hit.

Pacioretty was hospitalized and has not played since, suffering a broken vertebra.

The hit transcended the hockey world, especially after the NHL elected not to suspend Chara, deeming it a "hockey play" with a terrible consequence.

The Canadiens gained eight points in the season series to five for the Bruins, but in their last two visits to Boston the Habs allowed a total of 15 goals.

The Bruins embarrassed Montreal 7-0 in the last meeting on March 24.

No. 1 Washington vs. No. 8 N.Y. Rangers

New York's reward for just barely getting into the playoffs is the top seeded Washington Capitals, who'll no doubt be motivated after being embarrassed twice by the Rangers this season.

The Rangers had to watch and wait for Tampa Bay to beat Carolina on Saturday to be clear and safe. New York was eliminated on the final weekend of the season last year.

New York garnered six points in the season series against the Capitals, with Washington taking three.

The Rangers shocked Washington with victories of 7-0 and 6-0 during the regular season.

The Capitals have come on strongly over the last 25 games of the season, but they've also seen veteran defencemen Mike Green, Dennis Wideman and John Erskine hobbled by injuries.

Historically the Capitals have a 3-2 edge in playoff series, including a 2009 first round matchup in which star Alexander Ovechkin and Washington needed seven games to prevail.

No. 2 Philadelphia vs. No. 7 Buffalo

The Flyers are looking to return to the Stanley Cup final but face questions in goal and on defence.

Rookie standout Sergei Bobrovsky struggled down the stretch and allowed three goals on 10 shots in his final game of the season.

Star defenceman Chris Pronger has not played since March 8 due to a wrist injury.

The Flyers took five points from the season series to Buffalo's four. The Sabres beat Philadelphia on Friday to clinch their playoff berth.

Buffalo enters the playoffs on an 8-1-1 streak. No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller hasn't played a full game since March 29 due to an upper body injury, although he played several minutes in each of the team's final two games.

Philadelphia has won five of the teams' eight playoff series — including the 1975 Stanley Cup final — but the Sabres have taken the last two.

No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay

The Penguins are carrying on without stars Evgeni Malkin (knee) and Sidney Crosby (concussion). Crosby has resumed skating but has not been cleared for contact drills.

The teams each managed four points in their season series, although the Penguins took their two wins over Tampa Bay by a combined score of 13-2.

Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier will return to the playoffs for the first time in four years for the Lightning, while young sniper Steven Stamkos and defenceman Victor Hedman will make their NHL postseason debuts.

Pittsburgh has played 10 playoff rounds over its previous three post-season appearances, tied with Detroit for the most during that span.

The Penguins and Lightning have never met in the playoffs.

The NHL is expected to release schedules for the series on Sunday.