04/09/2012 06:16 EDT | Updated 04/09/2012 06:41 EDT

When Do The NHL Playoffs Start: Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers Lead The 2012 Chase For The Stanley Cup

NHLI via Getty Images

Better get those beers chilled and those razors put away. The NHL playoffs start this Wednesday, April 11th with three first-round games: The Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators kick off a fierce Central Division match-up (8 pm ET), the league-leading Vancouver Canucks take on west coast rivals the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 pm ET), and out East the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 pm ET) face-off in a much anticipated battle of Pennsylvania.

Thursday April 12th will see the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers taking on the Ottawa Senators (7 pm ET). Also in the East, last year's Stanley Cup champs the Boston Bruins face the struggling Washington Capitals (7:30 pm). In the West, The surprisingly resurgent St. Louis Blues start their series against the San Jose Sharks (7:30 pm ET). While the Phoenix Coyotes face the Chicago Blackhawks (10 pm ET) in another surprising match-up. On Friday April 13th, the Florida Panthers hope no bad luck follow them when they face the New Jersey Devils. (7pm ET)

Get full schedule for all the first-round games on

Bleacher Report also has previews and predictions of the series. Or check our slideshow below:

Excited for the playoffs? Don't know squat about hockey? Check out our slideshow below for a look at some of the players who'll end up in the playoff highlight reels each night:

NHL Playoffs 2012