When do the NHL playoffs start? Key dates, schedule & more to know for hockey's 2020 return

Sporting News

After months of chaos, confusion and commotion in the hockey world, fans have an answer to the all-important question: Yes, there will be a 2020 Stanley Cup champion.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced in May that the league was moving ahead with a 24-team playoff format in which 12 teams from each conference would participate in a modified postseason. There are still a few kinks to work out, but at the moment we can start looking forward to having playoff hockey this year.

Here's an updated look at when we can expect NHL hockey to resume and the Stanley Cup playoffs to begin:

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When do the NHL playoffs start in 2020?

According to the latest reporting, including by TSN.ca's Frank Seravalli, play will begin Aug. 1, less than three weeks after the opening of training camps on July 13. Games will be played in two Canadian "hub cities": Toronto and Edmonton. The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final reportedly will be held in Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final is expected to be completed in early October.

How will the Stanley Cup playoffs work?

Before the playoffs officially start, there will be a "qualifying round" in each conference. The top four seeds in each conference will receive a bye from this round, leaving the fifth through 12th seeds in each conference to face off for the remaining spots in the playoff bracket. These series will be best-of-five matchups, with playoff overtime rules in effect. The winners will move on to face the top four seeds in the next round.

While that's going on, the top four seeds will play a round-robin tournament to determine their seeding for the first round of the playoffs. If these games go to overtime, then they will be played under regular-season overtime rules. If there is a tie in points at the conclusion of the round-robin, then points percentages from the regular season will be used as a tiebreaker.

After the playoff bracket is set, each playoff series will be a best-of-seven, from the first round through the Stanley Cup Final.

MORE: Connor McDavid endorses playoff format, discusses role in NHL's return to play

NHL standings, playoff bracket

Twenty-four teams (12 in each conference) will compete for the Stanley Cup:

Eastern Conference

Seed

Team

Record

Points pct.

1

Boston Bruins

44-14-12

.714

2

Tampa Bay Lightning

43-21-6

.657

3

Washington Capitals

41-20-8

.652

4

Philadelphia Flyers

41-21-7

.645

5

Pittsburgh Penguins

40-23-6

.623

6

Carolina Hurricanes

38-25-5

.596

7

New York Islanders

35-23-10

.588

8

Toronto Maple Leafs

36-25-9

.579

9

Columbus Blue Jackets

33-33-15

.579

10

Florida Panthers

35-26-8

.565

11

New York Rangers

37-28-5

.564

12

Montreal Canadiens

31-31-9

.500

Western Conference

Seed

Team

Record

Points pct.

1

St. Louis Blues

42-19-10

.662

2

Colorado Avalanche

42-20-8

.657

3

Vegas Golden Knights

39-24-8

.606

4

Dallas Stars

37-24-8

.594

5

Edmonton Oilers

37-25-9

.585

6

Nashville Predators

35-26-8

.565

7

Vancouver Canucks

36-27-6

.565

8

Calgary Flames

36-27-7

.564

9

Winnipeg Jets

37-28-6

.563

10

Minnesota Wild

35-27-7

.558

11

Arizona Coyotes

33-29-8

.529

12

Chicago Blackhawks

32-30-8

.514

Teams that will not participate

Team

Record

Points pct.

Buffalo Sabres

30-31-8

.493

New Jersey Devils

28-29-12

.493

Anaheim Ducks

29-33-9

.472

Los Angeles Kings

29-35-6

.457

San Jose Sharks

29-36-5

.450

Ottawa Senators

25-34-12

.437

Detroit Red Wings

17-49-5

.275

NHL playoff schedule

This section will be updated after the schedule is announced.

Winnipeg Jets +5500

Updated odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup

Team

Odds*

Boston Bruins

+600

Tampa Bay Lightning

+600

Colorado Avalanche

+800

Vegas Golden Knights

+850

Philadelphia Flyers

+850

Washington Capitals

+1000

St. Louis Blues

+1100

Dallas Stars

+1500

Pittsburgh Penguins

+1800

Edmonton Oilers

+2500

Toronto Maple Leafs

+2700

Calgary Flames

+3500

Vancouver Canucks

+3500

New York Islanders

+4000

New York Rangers

+4000

Nashville Predators

+4200

Carolina Hurricanes

+4200

Arizona Coyotes

+4500

Minnesota Wild

+4500

Winnipeg Jets

+5500

Florida Panthers

+6000

Columbus Blue Jackets

+6500

Chicago Blackhawks

+8000

Montreal Canadiens

+8000


* Fanduel.com odds as of July 4.

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