This year the Covid 19 pandemic interrupted the sports world in a huge way and the NHL was no different. After a couple months of discussions, the NHL made the decision to restart and finish the season with an expanded 24 team playoff format in two Hub Cities.
In the end they chose Toronto & Edmonton to host each conference for a round robin, qualifying round and the full 4 round Stanley Cup Playoffs. All the teams that qualified from the Eastern Conference went to Toronto to “bubble” in a few hotels there while the West went to Edmonton.
As part of the restart they announced the 7 teams that missed this playoff format would be entered into a phase 1 of the Draft lottery and the 8 teams that lose in the qualifying round would be eligible for a 2nd phase of the lottery if one of the 8 placeholder teams would win one of the top 3 spots in the first phase.
This is exactly what happened when they finished phase one with a placeholder winning the 1st overall pick which after the 2nd phase ended up being won by the New York Rangers after losing to Carolina in qualifiers. The Detroit Red Wings who had best odds ended falling to the 4th overall pick while our very own Ottawa Senators ended up with the 3rd overall pick from (San Jose) & 5th overall with their own 1st round pick.
Now that the draft lottery is over, we can fully focus on the Stanley Cup Playoffs which is always an exciting time for hockey fans no matter who you cheer for. In this years newly revamped playoff format we got to witness a qualifier round between the 5th through 12th seeds while the top 4 seeds played a round robin 3 game series to sort out seeding in round 1 of playoffs.
Here is how seeding and qualifiers went:
Eastern Conference seeding
- (1) Philadelphia Flyers
- (2) Tampa Bay Lightning
- (3) Washington Capitals
- (4) Boston Bruins
- (5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (12) Montreal Canadiens (Habs win 3-1)
- (6) Carolina Hurricanes vs (11) New York Rangers (Canes win 3-0)
- (7) New York Islanders vs (10) Florida Panthers (Isles win 3-1)
- (8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs (9) Columbus Blue Jackets (Jackets win 3-2)
- (1) Flyers vs (12) Canadiens
- (2) Lightning vs (9) Blue Jackets
- (3) Capitals vs (7) Islanders
- (4) Bruins vs (6) Hurricanes
Western Conference seeding
- (1) Vegas Golden Knights
- (2) Colorado Avalanche
- (3) Dallas Stars
- (4) St Louis Blues
- (5) Edmonton Oilers vs (12) Chicago Blackhawks (Hawks win 3-1)
- (6) Nashville Predators vs (11) Arizona Coyotes (Coyotes win 3-1)
- (7) Vancouver Canucks vs (10) Minnesota Wild (Canucks win 3-1)
- (8) Calgary Flames vs (9) Winnipeg Jets (Flames win 3-1)
- (1) Golden Knights vs (12) Blackhawks
- (2) Avalanche vs (11) Coyotes
- (3) Stars vs (8) Flames
- (4) Blues vs (7) Canucks
As we go along you can check out one of our very own Buds Eric R and his SportsNut News YouTube videos for all you need to know about the playoffs