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NHL playoff bracket 2020: Updated standings, seeds & Round 1 projections for Stanley Cup playoffs

The chase for the Cup is back on.

After a four-month layoff, the ice is cooled, the teams are hot and the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs officially get underway on Aug. 11. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the NHL to get a bit creative with its restart, and because of that, hockey-starved fans get a little dose of semi-playoffs with teams jockeying for playoff position and playoff spots over a week span starting on Saturday.

The gist: The top four teams in each conference will play each other once to determine seeding in the Stanley Cup playoffs, while the remaining eight teams in each conference play qualifiers to make the dance.

Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ont. and Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta., will play host to the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with Rogers Place housing the conference finals and the Stanley Cup final. Should all go according to plan, with players staying healthy within the NHL’s bubble, the season is scheduled to end no later than Oct. 4. 

Here’s what you need to know about the round-robin and qualifying rounds and the start of the 2020 NHL playoffs:

MORE: Everything to know about the NHL’s bubble cities

NHL playoff bracket 2020

Eastern Conference

Round robin

The top four teams will compete in a seeding round-robin tourney:

Date
Game
Time/results
Aug. 2
Flyers vs. Bruins
Flyers 4, Bruins 1
Aug. 3
Capitals vs. Lightning
Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)
Aug. 5
Lightning vs. Bruins
4 p.m.
Aug. 6
Capitals vs. Flyers
4 p.m.
Aug. 8
Flyers vs. Lightning
TBD
Aug. 9
Bruins vs. Capitals
TBD

Qualifying round

The following are the matchups for the qualifying round, based on regular season standings/point percentage:

Series
Results
Penguins (5) vs. Canadiens (12)
Series tied 1-1
Hurricanes (6) vs. Rangers (11)
Hurricanes lead 2-0
Islanders (7) vs. Panthers (10)
Islanders lead 2-0
Maple Leafs (8) vs. Blue Jackets (9)
Series tied 1-1

Western Conference

Round robin

The top four teams in the West face each other once:

Date
Game
Time/results
Aug. 2
Blues vs. Avalanche
Avs 2, Blues 1
Aug. 3
Stars vs. Golden Knights
Golden Knights 5, Stars 3
Aug. 5.
Avalanche vs. Stars
6:30 p.m.
Aug. 6
Golden Knights vs. Blues
6:30 p.m.
Aug. 8
Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
TBD
Aug. 9
Stars vs. Blues
TBD

Qualifying round

Based on regular-season standings, the following are the matchups for the qualifying round in the west:

Series
Results
Oilers (5) vs. Blackhawks (12)
Series tied 1-1
Predators (6) vs. Coyotes (11)
Series tied 1-1
Canucks (7) vs. Wild (10)
Wild lead 1-0
Flames (8) vs. Jets (9)
Flames lead 2-1

NHL playoff projections

Here’s what the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs would look like if the qualifying rounds ended today (updated Aug. 4):

Eastern Conference

— Flyers (1) vs. Canadiens (12)

— Lightning (2) vs. Maple Leafs (8)

— Capitals (3) vs. Islanders (7)

— Bruins (4) vs. Hurricanes (6)

Western Conference

— Avalanche (1) vs. Oilers (5)

— Golden Knights (2) vs. Predators (6)

— Stars (3) vs. Wild (10)

— Blues (4) vs. Flames (8)

MORE: Here is a complete schedule for the NHL’s 2020 restart

When do the NHL playoffs start in 2020?

The 2020 Stanley Cup playoff qualifiers get underway on Saturday, Aug. 1. The Rangers and Hurricanes kick off the qualifying round with a Saturday matinee matchup in Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ont. The last games in both the qualifying and round-robin rounds are scheduled take place on Sunday, Aug. 9.

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs officially get underway on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Teams will be re-seeded after the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

How do the NHL playoffs work?

Prior to the start of the official Stanley Cup playoffs on Aug. 11, there are a few bells and whistles that are going to determine qualification and seeding in both conferences. Here’s how that will work:

The top four teams in each conference play round-robin style to determine seeding for the top spots in the playoffs. Each team will play each other once, amounting in six games between Aug 2. and Aug. 9. The games will be played under regular season overtime and shootout rules.The remaining eight teams in each conference will play in a best-of-five series to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Seeding is based on regular-season standings. These games are played under playoff overtime rules (golden goal). After the qualifying rounds and round-robin play is completed, teams advance to the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The highest seeds will play the lowest seeds, per usual, with re-seeding after both the first and second rounds.Every series from the first round to the last horn of the Stanley Cup Final are seven games, per usual, with the NHL’s two hub cities hosting the first two rounds. The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final will be held in Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta.

NHL standings 2020

Eastern Conference

Rank
Team
W
L
OTL
Points
Points pct
1
Bruins
44
14
12
100
.714
2
Lightning
43
21
6
92
.657
3
Capitals
41
20
8
90
.652
4
Flyers
41
21
7
89
.645
5
Penguins
40
23
6
86
.623
6
Hurricanes
38
25
5
81
.596
7
Islanders
35
23
10
80
.588
8
Maple Leafs
36
25
9
81
.579
9
Blue Jackets
33
22
15
81
.579
10
Panthers
35
22
15
81
.565
11
Rangers
37
28
5
79
.564
12
Canadiens
31
31
9
71
.500
13
Sabres
30
31
8
68
.493
14
Devils
28
29
12
68
.493
15
Senators
25
34
12
62
.437
16
Red Wings
17
49
5
39
.275

The Sabres, Devils, Senators and Red Wings all missed the playoffs.

Western Conference

Rank
Team
W
L
OTL
Points
Points pct
1
Blues
42
19
10
94
.662
2
Avalanche
42
20
8
92
.657
3
Golden Knights
39
24
8
86
.606
4
Stars
37
24
8
82
.594
5
Oilers
37
25
9
83
.585
6
Predators
35
26
8
78
.565
7
Canucks
36
27
6
78
.565
8
Flames
36
27
7
79
.564
9
Jets
37
28
6
80
.563
10
Wild
36
27
7
77
.558
11
Coyotes
33
29
8
74
.529
12
Blackhawks
32
30
8
72
.514
13
Ducks
29
33
9
67
.472
14
Kings
29
35
6
64
.457
15
Sharks
29
36
5
63
.450

The Ducks, Kings and Sharks all miss out on the chase for the Cup. 

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