The Stanley Cup Playoffs refers to the National Hockey League post season. The NHL playoffs pit the Eastern and Western Conferences in a battle for a ticket to the NHL Finals. The top 8 teams each conference play for the best of 7 games over the course of 4 rounds. In the Stanley Cup Finals only 2 teams remain and both have their eyes on the prize.
The current 7 game format of 2-2-1-1-1 gives the home team the advantage for the first 2 games as well as games 5 and 7. During the playoffs placement the top 3 teams from each division are automatically in. Then in the Wild Card selection the remaining 4 spots get filled by the teams with the most accumulated points in each conference. It is possible for teams from the same division to qualify for the Wild Card spots in each conference.
Round 1: 8 teams form 2 sets of 4 teams separated by division. The lowest seeded “Wild Card” faces the highest seeded team overall from either division. The remaining “Wild Card” will go up against the remaining division top seed. This in turn qualifies both “Wild Card” teams as #4 seeds and the #2 seeds face the #3 seeds to complete the setup.
Round 2: At the end of the first round there are 4 teams from each conference that will advance to round 2. Again the top seeds will face off against the lowest seeded teams as the winners advance to the Conference Finals.
Round 3: The 3rd round is better known as the Conference Finals. This is where the winners from round 2 play to decide who will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The prevailing team from the Stanly Cup Finals will forever have their names engraved in the history books as well as on the Stanley Cup.
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