04/01/2013 05:07 EDT | Updated 05/06/2013 05:07 EDT

NHL Playoffs Start At The End Of April 2013

After a shortened season prompted by a nearly four month lockout, the NHL playoffs will start on April 30, 2013.

The last game in the battle for the Stanley Cup will take place no later than June 28, 2013.

The 2012-13 season was shortened to just 48 games after a lockout centred around a salary dispute lasted from mid-September of 2013 to early January of 2013. Interconference play was also eliminated as part of the truncated season.

One big question mark for the playoffs is whether superstar Sidney Crosby will be able to play. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain was struck in the face with a puck in late March and is out indefinitely after having surgery.

Another big postseason story may be the Toronto Maple Leafs, who seems poised to make the playoffs for the first time in roughly a decade. The Leafs have not qualified since the 2003-04 season, but thanks to the short season and plenty of new blood, the Boston Red Sox of the NHL may just have a chance to break the 1967 curse this year.

Or, much more likely, not.

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