That means they will have a guaranteed home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason, and the second as well if they advance that far.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, however, do not have the luxury of a home-ice ticket past the first round, despite their 104 points so far this year. Although they have the second-most points in the conference, the Pens have the unfortunate distinction of finishing second in their own division, to the New York Rangers.
Because the NHL guarantees the division winners a top-three seed, a team like Florida can earn home ice over a team like New Jersey, who by most measures has had a better season. Some people may argue that winning your division should come with its own reward, while others may argue that divisions are arbitrary and the best teams should have the best seeds come playoff time.
With the strength of the Atlantic Division in stark contrast with the weak Southeast Division this season, the question has once again come to the forefront of the playoff conversation. Do division winners deserve a top-three seed?
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