What to know about the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Tampa Bay Lightning is looking to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the Islanders of the early ’80s. Bu...


The Tampa Bay Lightning is looking to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the Islanders of the early ’80s. But 15 other teams and four playoffs stand in their way.

Let’s answer some questions about the NHL playoffs as they get ready to begin.

Monday at 7 p.m. EST when the Boston Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes. Three other series start on Monday and the other four on Tuesday. A full first round schedule can be found here.

In each of the two conferences, the top three teams from each division and two wild cards qualified. In the first round, the wild cards play the division winners, while the second and third place teams from each division play each other.

After a second round of divisional play, the four survivors will meet in the Conference Finals, and the Stanley Cup Finals will follow. All four playoff rounds are best-of-seven series. The top-ranked team in each series has the advantage of playing four of the seven home games.

The games will be broadcast in the United States on TNT, TBS, ESPN and ABC. Streaming is available on ESPN Plus and Hulu.

In Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Sportsnet will broadcast the matches. Sportsnet Now will broadcast the matches.

Due to the uncertainty of the duration of the previous rounds, it is unclear when precisely the finals will begin. In a typical season, they start about six to seven weeks after the playoffs start.

Like every year, it’s hard to say. It’s not uncommon for bottom seeds to win the NHL playoffs Last season, five of the eight bottom seeds won in the first round. The eventual winner, the Lightning, had the eighth-best regular season record, and the other runner-up, the Montreal Canadiens, had the worst record of any playoff team.

There is a strong Eastern Conference contingent in particular this season, with all participants finishing the season with over 100 points for the first time.

The Florida Panthers won the Presidents Trophy for the league’s best record. But the trophy winner hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 2013, and only four times this century.

Right now, the Colorado Avalanche are the betting favorite about 4-to-1 after clinching the No. 1 seed in the West. The Panthers are second at 6-1. After them, all in the 10-1 range, come the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Lightning and Hurricanes.

The high rankings of the Flames and Leafs are significant. Although about half of the league’s players are Canadian and interest in the sport there is feverish, no team from Canada has won the Stanley Cup since the Canadiens in 1993.

Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs became the first player in the league to reach the 60-goal mark since 2012 and is the leading contender for MVP

the perennial star Connor McDavid and teammate Leon Draisaitl are another terrific brace for the Edmonton Oilers, who are another candidate to end the Canada Cup drought.

Igor Shesterkin Rangers was the consensus keeper of the season with a goals-against-average just over 2.

Pittsburgh Penguins legend Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals are still going strong.

Prior to this season, the Vegas Golden Knights had qualified for the playoffs in their four years of existence and played in one Cup Final and two other Conference Finals. But this year they missed out on a close battle for the wild card.

The Winnipeg Jets had also been in the playoffs for four consecutive seasons up to this one.

The Cup has a long and glorious history dating back to 1893. Back then, it was open to teams from various leagues, and its champions included the Montreal Shamrocks, Vancouver Millionaires, Toronto St. Patricks and Seattle. Metropolitans, the first American team to win it, in 1917.

There is a long tradition that players from the winning team get one day each with the Cup. They will often use their time to take sacred silverware to special and sometimes curious places in their hometown, such as Red Square in Moscow, a strip club, a party hosted by actor Matthew Perry, and a christening.

Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, was Governor General of Canada in the late 1800s. He made a smart move that reminded him far better than most of the other Earls of Derby: excited about hockey on ice because his sons played there, he won 10 guineas for a trophy in 1892.

Many NHL players don’t superstitiously shave while their team is in the playoffs. (Some teams in other sportslike baseball, have also adopted this tradition.) By the time the Stanley Cup Finals come around, rosters can start to look pretty scruffy.

After a playoff series ends, both teams line up to shake hands with their opponents. It’s a personalized highly appreciated by hockey fans: Expect to hear an announcer call it “a wonderful tradition”.

In the NHL regular season, overtime ends after five minutes. But in the playoffs, they keep playing until someone scores. It could mean one, two, three or more overtimes. Last season, the Oilers and Jets went to three overtime games. The previous season, the Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets went to five. In 1936, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons grew to six.

Overtime in Game 7 – both teams knowing that a single goal will eliminate them or advance them instantly – is by consensus one of the most exciting events in sport. This happened most recently in 2020 when the Dallas Stars beat the Avalanche in the second round on a Joel Kiviranta goal.

Finals have only gone to overtime in Game 7 twice, in 1950 and 1954, both won by the Red Wings.

The playoff MVP award. Although the winner almost always comes from the Cup-winning team, it is actually awarded based on their performance across the playoffs as a whole, not just the Cup Finals.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won it last season for the Lightning and defenseman Victor Hedman the year before. Both are still key players for the team.

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