NHL – 3 things to know before the play-offs – Sports Info – Skiing

Which rinks?

These play-offs will be played in Canada, more precisely in the city of Toronto for the Eastern Conference, and in that of Edmonton for the Western Conference.

What is the format?

A total of 24 teams are invited to participate at the end of this NHL season. This group includes, on the one hand, the franchises having finished in the top 4 of each of the two conferences.

They will be directly qualified for the first round and will simply start with a ranking tournament (« round robin ») with the aim of defining the seeds of the first round for each conference.

To qualify, the remaining teams, having finished lower than 4th place in their respective conferences, will be decided in play-offs called “Stanley Cup Qualifiers”.

These will take place in the form of a series of five meetings which will oppose, in each conference, the 5th to the 12th, the 6th to the 11th, the 7th to the 10th and the 8th to the 9th.

Finally, the first round, the quarter-finals and the semi-finals will be played as a series of 7 matches, as will the “Stanley Cup Finals” which will begin around September 20 in Edmonton.

What are the posters?

The top 4 of the Western Conference is made up of the Saint Louis Blues (1st), Colorado Avalanche (2nd), Vegas Golden Nights (3rd) and Dallas Stars (4th).

As for the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, we find the Boston Bruins (1st), Washington Capitals (2nd), Tampa Bay Lightning (3rd) and Philadelphia Flyers (4th).

The respective duels in the qualifying round in the Western Conference:

Calgary Flames (8th) – Winnipeg Jets (9th)

Nashville Predators (6th) – Arizona Coyotes (11th)

Edmonton Oilers (5th) – Chicago Blackhawks (12th)

Vancouver Canucks (7th) – Minnesota Wild (10th)

The Eastern Conference qualifying round matches:

Toronto Maple Leafs (8th) – Columbus Blue Jackets (9th)

Carolina Hurricanes (6th) – New York Rangers (11th)

Pittsburgh Penguins (5th) – Montreal Canadiens (12th)

New York Islanders (7th) – Florida Panthers (10th)

Who are the favorites?

Bookies widely expect Tampa Bay or Boston to reach the final to face either Vegas or Colorado.

The Bruins, finalists from last year, and the Lightning, led by their unstoppable goalscorer Nikita Kucherov, are rated at 4.25 to win an Eastern Conference which promises to be very tight according to the platforms allowing to bet online.

Regarding the Western Conference, the Avalanches and their prodigy, Nathan MacKinnon (4.25) are very slightly favored against the Golden Nights (4.50) according to the figures of July 11, 2020.

Stanley Cup winners last season, the Saint-Louis Blues (5.50) are expected to reach at least the semi-finals.

The Washington Capitals (5.50) could also respond thanks to one of the best players in the league, Alex Ovechkin, eighth highest scorer in NHL history with more than 700 goals to his credit.

The resumption of the NHL is therefore scheduled for August 1 in Canada, while all the teams in the running have already started their preparation intensive for the play-offs to come.

Photo: NHL Saint Louis Blues

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