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NHL 2020 Restart Schedule: Updated Dates, Times, Qualifying Round TV Channels & Playoff Matches

The NHL is back. For the next three months or less, long-starved fans will be treated to playoff-caliber hockey from the confines of two Canadian bubbles, hoping the league can end the 2019-20 season despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re not paying attention since the NHL closed on March 11 (understandably, all things considered), the NHL’s qualifying format and schedule for the Stanley Cup playoffs requires a bit of explanation.

Here’s how it will work: 24 teams will remain in position when the game restarts on August 1 from the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. Sixteen of those teams participate in the best-of-five series to qualify for the playoff series and will continue to qualify for phase 2 of the NHL lottery. (Do you think this is confusing? Get a load of that discombobulation.)

The other eight teams – the top four of each conference based on the regular 2019-20 season – have already secured a spot in the playoffs and will play against each other in a round robin to determine the placement. Sunday, August 9 is the last possible day of qualifying matches, and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Tuesday, August 11.

Below is the full schedule for the restart of the NHL 2020 season, including the start times and TV channels for games from both the qualifying and round robin series.

LAKE: Watch NHL games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

NHL schedule 2020

Here’s the daily schedule for the NHL reboot, including games from both the qualifying and round robin series.

Note: The times and TV channels for games on August 6-9 are yet to be determined (played only if necessary). They will be updated when announced.

Saturday, August 1

GameTimeTV channel
Rangers vs. hurricanesAfternoon ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Blackhawks vs. Oilers3:00 p.m. ETNBC, SN, fuboTV
Panthers versus islanders4 p.m. ETNBCSN, SN1, fuboTV
Canadiens vs. Penguins20:00 ETNBC, SN, fuboTV
Jets vs. flames22:30 ETNBCSN, CBC, SN, fuboTV

Sunday August 2

GameTimeTV channel
Coyotes vs. predators2:00 p.m. ETUSA, SN1, fuboTV
Flyers vs. Bruins3:00 p.m. ETNBC, SN, fuboTV
Blues vs. Avalanche6:30 PM ETNBCSN, fuboTV
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs20:00 ETNHLN, SN, fuboTV
Wild vs. Canucks22:30 ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV

Monday, August 3

GameTimeTV channel
Rangers vs. hurricanesAfternoon ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Jets vs. flames2:30 pm ETNHLN, SN, fuboTV
Capitals versus lightning4 p.m. ETNBCSN, fuboTV
Stars vs. Stars Golden Knights6:30 PMNHLN, SN1, fuboTV
Canadiens vs. Penguins20:00 ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Blackhawks vs. Oilers22:30 ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV

Tuesday, August 4

GameTimeTV channel
Panthers versus islandersAfternoon ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Coyotes vs. predators2:30 pm ETNHLN, SN1, fuboTV
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs4 p.m. ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Flames versus rays18:45 ETNHLN, SN, fuboTV
Hurricanes versus Rangers20:00 ETNBCSN, fuboTV
Wilds vs. Canucks10:45 pm ETUSA, SN, fuboTV

Wednesday, August 5

GameTimeTV channel
Islanders vs. PanthersAfternoon ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Predators versus coyotes2:30 pm ETNHLN, fuboTV
Lightning vs. Bruins4 p.m. ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Avalanche versus stars6:30 PM ETNHLN, fuboTV
Penguins vs. Canadiens20:00 ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV
Oilers vs. Blackhawks22:30 ETNBCSN, SN, fuboTV

Thursday, August 6

GameTimeTV channel
Capitals versus leafletsTBDTBD
Hurricanes versus RangersTBDTBD
Maple Leafs vs. Blue JacketsTBDTBD
Golden Knights vs. BluesTBDTBD
Canucks vs. WildTBDTBD
Flames versus raysTBDTBD

Friday, August 7

GameTimeTV channel
Penguins vs. CanadiensTBDTBD
Islanders vs. PanthersTBDTBD
Maple Leafs vs. Blue JacketsTBDTBD
Oilers vs. BlackhawksTBDTBD
Predators versus coyotesTBDTBD
Canucks vs. WildTBDTBD

Saturday, August 8

GameTimeTV channel
Flyers versus lightningTBDTBD
Canadiens vs. PenguinsTBDTBD
Rangers vs. hurricanesTBDTBD
Golden Knights vs. AvalancheTBDTBD
Blackhawks vs. OilersTBDTBD
Jets vs. flamesTBDTBD

Sunday, August 9

GameTimeTV channel
Bruins vs. CapitalsTBDTBD
Panthers versus islandersTBDTBD
Blue Jackets vs. Maple LeafsTBDTBD
Stars vs. Stars BluesTBDTBD
Coyotes vs. predatorsTBDTBD
Wild vs. CanucksTBDTBD

MORE: Updated NHL playoff bracket

How to watch, stream NHL games

All NHL games during the 2020 reboot will be broadcast nationally in the United States via NBC, NBC Sports or their sister station, USA Network. There are also seven games available on NHL Network. You can stream NHL games through NBCSports.com, NHL.TV or with fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.

In Canada, most NHL games are shown on Sportsnet and its partners. CBC simulates Saturday’s opening game between the Canadiens and Penguins.

When do the NHL playoffs start in 2020?

  • Qualifications and round-robins: Saturday, August 1
  • First round: August 11
  • Second round: August 25 (tentative)
  • Final conference: September 8 (tentative)
  • Stanley Cup Final: September 22 (preliminary)

The first games of the playoffs, with the best-of-five qualifying series, are scheduled for August 1, with Flames vs. Jets, Blackhawks vs. Oilers, Panthers vs. Islanders, Rangers vs. Hurricanes and Canadiens vs. Penguins.

The round-robin section of the postseason begins on August 2 with a matchup between the Flyers and Bruins, less than three weeks after the opening of training camps on July 13.

Games are played in two Canadian hub cities: Toronto for Eastern Conference games and Edmonton for Western Conference games. The conference finals and the Stanley Cup final take place in Edmonton.

The Stanley Cup final starts on September 22 and will be completed by October 4.

How do the NHL Playoffs Work?

Before the playoffs officially begin, there will be a “qualifying round” in each conference. The top four seeds in each conference will get a goal by this round, leaving the fifth through 12th seeds in each conference to brave the remaining spots in the playoff bracket. These series are the best-of-five games, with overtime rules for playoffs in effect. The winners advance to the top four seeds in the next round.

While that is going on, the top four seeds play a round-robin tournament to determine their placement for the first round of the playoffs. If these games are working overtime, they will be played according to the regular overtime rules. If there is a tie in points at the end of the round robin, regular season points are used as a tiebreaker.

After the playoff bracket is set, each playoff series is a best-of-seven, from the first round to the Stanley Cup final.

Sam Jarden contributed to this article.

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