How will NHL playoffs work in 2021? Teams, format, bracket for Stanley Cup chase


The 2021 NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs are right here.

However that is the one regular factor this yr. 

For one, the common season and the postseason are overlapping because the North Division wraps issues up after an nearly three-week-long COVID-19 pause for the Canucks. That occurred in late March/early April, nicely after issues already have been switched up concerning the divisions. 

MORE: First-round schedule, odds for 2021 Stanley Cup chase

With the highway to lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup starting on Sat., Could 15, this is a fast take a look at the who, the what and the why for 2021.

How was the 2021 NHL season structured?

Now that the 2021 season is (nearly) carried out, a fast reminder of how issues bought right here.

First off, the season was a 56-game dash that started on Jan. 13 with 10 groups hitting the ice, together with the 2020 Stanley Cup champion Lightning. Enjoyable reality: Two of these video games additionally featured the identical matchup within the first spherical of this season’s playoffs; the Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens 5-4 in additional time and the Blues beat the Avalanche 4-1.

Groups have been divided into 4 brand-spanking-new (however just for this season) divisions due to the Canadian-U.S. border closure (which was prolonged by way of Could 21, for now) and to restrict journey. The video games have been stored to inter-divisional play with groups going through their division foes eight to 10 occasions. The East, Central and West performed every member of their division eight occasions; the North was somewhat lopsided however followers bought to see 10(!) Battles of Alberta. 

East Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals

North Division: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets

West Division: Anaheim Geese, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights

Central Division: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Purple Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning

MORE: Hurricanes broadcaster Tripp Tracy chats playoffs, Matthews and McDavid

Which groups are within the 2021 NHL playoffs?

Gone is the qualifying spherical of summer time bubble hockey. The conventional variety of groups superior to the Stanley Cup in 2021, with 16 golf equipment raring to go. 

These are the workforce’s that can compete for the Stanley Cup and their seeding.

East Division: (1) Penguins (2) Capitals (3) Bruins (4) Islanders

North Division: (1) Maple Leafs (2) Oilers (3) Jets (4) Canadiens

West Division: (1) Avalanche (2) Golden Knights (3) Wild (4) Blues

Central Division: (1) Hurricanes (2) Panthers (3) Lightning (4) Predators

Who gained the 2021 Presidents’ Trophy?

It got here right down to the Avalanche’s final recreation, however due to a 5-1 win over the Kings, Colorado snagged the franchise’s third Presidents’ Trophy. The opposite two occasions? Again in 1997 after which in 2001, which additionally occurs to be the final time the workforce gained the Stanley Cup. 

With the win, the Avalanche bypassed the Golden Knights for the highest spot (due to 35 regulation wins). And, whereas the sport was perhaps not as entertaining after the Avs started to demolish the Kings, Vegas netminder Robin Lehner’s tweets stored issues mild.

2021 Stanley Cup bracket

(SN Illustration)

How will the 2021 NHL playoffs work?

With the tweaks to the divisions, issues look somewhat totally different this yr. One regular aspect is that every collection will probably be a best-of-seven. 

This is the breakdown:

The match-ups:

East Division: (1) Penguins vs. (4) Islanders; (2) Capitals vs. (3) Bruins 

North Division: (1) Maple Leafs vs. (4) Canadiens; (2) Oilers vs. (3) Jets

West Division: (1) Avalanche vs. (4) Blues; (2) Golden Knights vs. (3) Wild 

Central Division: (1) Hurricanes vs. (4) Predators; (2) Panthers vs. (3) Lightning

The primary seed of every division will play the fourth-place workforce whereas the No. 2 and No. 3 groups will meet.

The winners of those first-round conferences will then face off to crown a division winner.

As soon as the divisions wrap up their play, the 4 remaining groups advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals. The 4 groups will probably be re-seeded based mostly on their regular-season level totals with the workforce with probably the most factors going through the workforce with the fewest. The winners of the semis battle it out within the 2021 Stanley Cup Last. 

Sorry, however there is not going to be an awarding of the Prince of Wales Trophy or Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in 2021.

Are followers allowed?

The 12 groups in america have been permitting followers into their buildings for some time, with some groups upping their capability lately. In Canada, just like the common season, followers is not going to be in attendance.

The place will the North Division winner play?

Due to the border closure between america and Canada, and Canada’s quarantine requirement upon arrival, there have been some discussions concerning whether or not the workforce will have to be relocated. If cross-border journey just isn’t allowed by the Canadian authorities, it sounds just like the Canadian division champ will relocate to an NHL metropolis (whose workforce didn’t make the playoffs) south of the border. 

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reviews that the NHL has instructed the Canadian authorities that it might want to know by June 1, which is in the future after the primary spherical can finish, if it goes the space. 


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