The Tampa Bay Lightning are searching for to grow to be the primary team to win three straight Stanley Cups because the early ’80s Islanders. But 15 other teams and 4 rounds of playoffs stand of their way.
Let’s answer some questions on the N.H.L. playoffs as they get set to start.
When do the playoffs start?
Monday at 7 p.m. Eastern time when the Boston Bruins play the Carolina Hurricanes. Three other series start on Monday and the opposite 4 on Tuesday. A full first-round schedule will be found here.
How do they work?
In each of the 2 conferences, the highest three teams from each division and two wild cards qualified. In the primary round, the wild cards play the division winners, while the second- and third-place teams in each division play one another.
After a second round of divisional play, the 4 survivors will meet within the conference finals, and the Stanley Cup finals follow. All 4 rounds of the playoffs are best-of-seven-game series. The higher-seeded team in each series gets the advantage of playing 4 of the seven games at home.
Where can I watch the games?
Games will likely be shown in america on TNT, TBS, ESPN and ABC. Streaming is accessible on ESPN Plus and Hulu.
In Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Sportsnet will broadcast the games. Sportsnet Now will stream the games.
When are the finals?
Due to uncertainty of the length of the sooner rounds, it will not be clear when precisely the finals will start. In a typical season, they start about six to seven weeks after the playoffs start.
Who’s going to win?
As in every 12 months, that’s difficult to say. It will not be unusual for lower seeds to win playoff series within the N.H.L. Last season, five of eight lower seeds won in the primary round. The eventual winner, the Lightning, had the eighth best record within the regular season, and the opposite finalist, the Montreal Canadiens, had the worst record of any playoff team.
There’s a robust Eastern Conference contingent particularly this season, with the entire entrants ending the season with greater than 100 points for the primary time.
The Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for the highest record within the league. However the trophy winner hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 2013, and only 4 times this century.
As of now, the Colorado Avalanche are the betting favorites at about 4 to 1 after landing the highest seed within the West. The Panthers are second at 6-1. Following them, all within the 10-1 range, are the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Lightning and Hurricanes.
The Flames’ and Leafs’ high rankings are significant. Although about half of the league’s players are Canadian, and interest in the game is feverish there, no team from Canada has won the Stanley Cup because the Canadiens in 1993.
Who’re the players to look at?
Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs became the league’s first player to succeed in the 60-goal mark since 2012 and is the leading candidate for M.V.P.
The perennial star Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who’re spending less time on the ice together this season, are again finding offensive success for the Edmonton Oilers, who’re one other candidate to finish Canada’s Cup drought.
Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers has been the consensus goalie of the season with a goals-against average just barely over 2.
The legends Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals are still going strong as well.
Before this season, the Vegas Golden Knights had qualified for the playoffs in all 4 years of their existence and made a Cup finals and two more conference finals. But this 12 months they missed out in an in depth battle for the wild card.
The Winnipeg Jets had also made the playoffs for 4 straight seasons until this one.
What’s so special concerning the Stanley Cup?
The Cup has an extended and glorious history that dates to 1893. Back within the day it was open to groups from quite a lot of leagues, and its champions have included the likes of the Montreal Shamrocks, the Vancouver Millionaires, the Toronto St. Patricks and the Seattle Metropolitans, the primary American team to win it, in 1917.
There’s an extended tradition that permits players on the winning team to get at some point each with the Cup. They may often use their time to take the hallowed silverware to special and sometimes curious locations of their hometowns, like Red Square in Moscow, a strip club, a celebration thrown by the actor Matthew Perry and a baptism.
Who was ‘Stanley’ anyway?
Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, the sixteenth Earl of Derby, was the governor general of Canada within the late 1800s. He made a sensible move that has kept him much better remembered than many of the other Earls of Derby: Excited by ice hockey because his sons played it, he ponied up 10 guineas for a trophy in 1892.
What’s with all of the beards?
Many N.H.L. players superstitiously don’t shave for so long as their team is within the playoffs. (Some teams in other sports, like baseball, have embraced this tradition as well.) By the point of the Stanley Cup Finals, the lineups can start looking pretty shaggy.
And the handshakes after the games?
After a playoff series has concluded, each teams line as much as shake their opponents’ hands. It’s a custom much beloved by hockey fans: Expect to listen to an announcer call it “a fabulous tradition.”
Why are time beyond regulation playoff games so special?
Within the N.H.L. regular season, time beyond regulation ends after five minutes. But within the playoffs they only keep playing until someone scores. That would mean one, two, three or more overtimes. Last season, the Oilers and Jets played a three-overtime game. The season before, the Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets went to 5. In 1936, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons went to 6.
Overtimes in Game 7s — with each teams knowing a single goal will immediately eliminate or advance them — are by consensus one of the crucial exciting events in sports. It happened most recently in 2020 when the Dallas Stars beat the Avalanche within the second round on a Joel Kiviranta goal.
The finals have gone to time beyond regulation in Game 7 only twice, in 1950 and 1954, each won by the Red Wings.
What’s the Conn Smythe Trophy?
The M.V.P. award of the playoffs. While the winner almost all the time comes from the Cup-winning team, it actually is awarded based on performance over your entire playoffs, not only the Cup finals.
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy won it last season for the Lightning and defenseman Victor Hedman the 12 months before. Each are still key players for the team.