Gary Bettman Details How NHL Playoffs Would Work Under 24-Team Format


May 26, 2020

We got a bit more clarity Tuesday regarding the NHL’s plan for returning to play.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the 24-team playoff format that was approved Friday night by the NHL Players’ Association.

First, the 2019-20 NHL season officially is over, meaning the Boston Bruins finish as the No. 1 team in the league.

Bettman said on NBCSN the playoffs will be conducted in two different hub cities — one for each conference. There are 10 possibilities, with three in Canada being considered. Boston is not one of them. Bettman also said the league probably will need to decide on the cities within three-to-four weeks.

The playoffs will feature 24 teams, with the top four teams in each conference set to play a round robin for first-round seeding. The Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights all will play a best-of-three series to determine their seedings in their respective conferences. Regular season rules apply, meaning there will be shootouts if necessary.

For the remaining eight teams in each conference, a best-of-five series. Playoff rules will be in place, meaning 20-minute overtimes until someone scores. These series either will be a best-of-five or best-of-seven.

The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final will be best-of-seven.

The first round of the playoffs either will be determined by brackets or seeding.

Here is how the Eastern Conference looks:

And the Western Conference:

While there’s still some kinks to work out, this is positive step toward the potential return of hockey.

More NHL: Maple Leafs Get Roasted Over Potential Matchups In League’s 24-Team Format

Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images
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