The hunt for the cup has started again.
After a four-month hiatus, the ice has cooled, the teams are hot, and the Stanley Cup 2020 playoffs officially begin on August 11. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the NHL to get a little creative with the restart, which is why hockey-starved fans get a small dose of semi-playoffs with teams jockeying for playoff position and playoff spots for a week starting on Saturday.
The gist: The top four teams in each conference will compete once to determine seeding in the Stanley Cup playoffs, while the remaining eight teams in each conference will play qualifications to make the dance.
Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ont. and Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alb. will host the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with Rogers Place hosting the conference final and the Stanley Cup final. Should everything go according to plan, with players remaining healthy within the NHL bubble, the season ends October 4 at the latest.
Here’s what you need to know about the round robin and qualifying rounds and the start of the 2020 NHL playoffs:
MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Restarting the NHL
NHL playoff bracket 2020
The top four teams will compete in a seeding round-robin tournament:
|August 2.||Flyers vs. Bruins||3 pm|
|3 August||Capitals versus lightning||4:00 PM|
|August 5||Lightning vs. Bruins||4:00 PM|
|August 6||Capitals versus leaflets||TBD|
|August the 8th||Flyers versus lightning||TBD|
|August 9||Bruins vs. Capitals||TBD|
Following are the qualifying round matches based on the regular season standings / percentage points:
– Penguins (5) vs. Canadiens (12)
– Hurricanes (6) vs. Rangers (11)
Islanders (7) vs. Panthers (10)
– Maple Leafs (8) vs. blue coats (9)
The four best teams in the West face each other once:
|August 2||Blues vs. Avalanche||6:30 PM|
|3 August||Stars vs. Stars Golden Knights||6:30 PM|
|August 5.||Avalanche versus stars||6:30 PM|
|August 6||Golden Knights vs. Blues||TBD|
|August the 8th||Golden Knights vs. Avalanche||TBD|
|August 9||Stars vs. Stars Blues||TBD|
Based on the regular season, the following games for the qualifying round are in the west:
– Oilers (5) vs. Blackhawks (12)
– Predators (6) vs. coyotes (11)
– Canucks (7) vs. Wild (10)
– Flames (8) vs. jets (9)
NHL playoff projections
This is what the Stanley Cup 2020 playoffs would look like if the qualifying rounds ended today (updated August 1):
– Bruins (1) vs. Maple Leafs (8)
– Lightning (2) vs. islanders (7)
– Capitals (3) vs. hurricanes (6)
– Flyers (4) vs. Penguins (5)
– Blues (1) vs. Flames (8)
– Avalanche (2) vs. Canucks (7)
– Golden Knights (3) vs. Predators (6)
– Stars (4) vs. Oilers (5)
When do the NHL playoffs start in 2020?
The Stanley Cup 2020 qualifying tournaments begin on Saturday, August 1. The Rangers and Hurricanes kick off the qualifying round with a matinee matchup on Saturday at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ont. The last games in both the qualifying and round-robin rounds are scheduled for Sunday, August 9.
The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will officially start on Tuesday, August 11. Teams are relocated after the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
How do the NHL Playoffs Work?
Prior to the start of the official Stanley Cup playoffs on August 11, there are a few bells and whistles that will determine qualification and seeding in both conferences. This is how it works:
- The top four teams in each conference play round-robin style to determine the placement for the top positions in the playoffs. Each team competes once, which equates to six games between August 2-9. The games will be played according to the regular overtime and shootout rules of the season.
- The remaining eight teams from each conference play in a best-of-five series to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sowing is based on the position in the regular season. These matches are played under the overtime play-off rules (golden goal).
- After the qualifying rounds and round robin play are complete, teams advance to the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The highest seeds will, as usual, play the lowest seeds with re-sowing after both the first and second rounds.
- Each series from the first round to the last horn of the Stanley Cup final is, as usual, seven games, with the two hub cities of the NHL hosting the first two rounds. The conference finals and Stanley Cup finals are held at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alb.
Stand NHL 2020
The Sabers, Devils, Senators and Red Wings all missed the playoffs.
The ducks, kings and sharks all miss the hunt for the cup.