June 30, 2022

2022 NHL playoff format: Stanley Cup playoffs explained, how many teams, rounds, dates and more

The 2022 Stanley Cup The playoffs are drawing closer, with the first round set to begin on May 2. Here, we’ll take a look at the NHL’s four-round playoff format.

NHL playoff standings

A total of 16 teams are in the NHL playoffs – eight teams from each conference. The two conferences are made up of two divisions each (the Eastern conference has the Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions; the Western conference has the Central and Pacific divisions). The top three teams from each division and two wildcards from each conference make the playoffs, with standings calculated on runs scored. The first seed in the conference plays the No. 2 wild card and the No. 2 seed plays the No. 1 wild card. The second-place team in each division hosts the third-place division team. Each postseason series consists of a series of seven games.

Currently, the NHL is not reorganizing for the second round, rather wildcard teams are somewhat “adopted” by the division of the team they face in the first round. So if the No. 2 wild card team in the Eastern Conference defeats the Metropolitan Division leader in the first round, they will face the 2-3 series winner Metropolitan. It’s a bit confusing and needs to change, but that’s what it is for now.

Conference Finals will feature the two remaining teams from each conference. The winners will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in mid-July. As the playoffs approach, the Colorado Avalance are favorites to win the Stanley Cup on DraftKings Sportsbook with odds installed at +350, closely followed by the Florida Panthers at +550.


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