NHL puts plan in place to finish season


Gary McCabe from D.C., USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Verizon Center (NHL Playoffs - April 25, 2009)

Matthew Szymanowski, Deputy Sports Editor

Following meetings between owners and officials, the NHL has made a plan to finish the 2019-2020 campaign.

On March 12, the NHL played their last game before the rest of the season was put on hold by the coronavirus.

The original schedule had about a month left in the regular season before the postseason was supposed to start.

Every postseason in the NHL, eight teams represent each conference. This season, however, will be different.

The NHL has decided to end the regular season as part of its plan to resume play. It will jump right into the playoffs and have twelve teams representing each conference instead of eight.

The NHL decided to add four more teams to each conference for the playoffs to give teams who may have gotten into the playoffs a chance to win.

After adding more teams to the playoffs, they set a new playoff format for this season. The top four seeds in each conference will get automatic byes in the first round. The other eight teams will play against each other in a best-of-five series.

The Eastern Conference

The automatics bids are, in order, the Boston Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals, and the Philadelphia Flyers.

The play-in rounds will feature:

No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 12 Montreal Canadiens

No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 11 New York Rangers

No. 7 New York Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida Panthers

No. 8 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 9 Columbus Blue Jackets

The Western Conference

The automatic bids are the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche, the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Dallas Stars.

The play-in rounds will feature:

No. 5 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks

No. 6 Nashville Predators vs. No. 11 Arizona Coyotes

No. 7 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 10 Minnesota Wild

No. 8 Calgary Flames vs. No. 9 Winnipeg Jets

All the teams will play in designated “hub” cities that are still to be determined.

Training camp is expected to start at the beginning of July.

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