Each division champion will be represented in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, and clubs will be re-seeded in the third round. Furthermore, it is a 56-game calendar in which clubs will only face opponents from their own division. The previous season's final standings are used to determine who plays where within each conference.
The new format was introduced for the 2005-06 season. The top three teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs, with all division champions eligible for the cup. The previous system had guaranteed spots for the top four teams in each division. If any other team were to finish first in its division, they would have had a chance at one of the remaining slots.
Another change this year is that the third round will use a best-of-five series format. The two semifinal winners will advance to the Cup Finals, which will be five games total. The 2003-04 finals were the first to use this format.
Finally, if a team wins their division but does not qualify for the playoffs, a one-game playoff will take place between the second-place club in the division and the third-place club in another division. This game is called the "Wild Card Game". A winner will be determined based on total points accumulated during the regular season.
The top four clubs in each division qualified for the playoffs, with the first two rounds taking place exclusively inside each division. In the second round, the winners of each series within the division will square off. The winner of the four subsequent series will proceed to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
There is no three-or-more-games-to-one rule for any stage of the playoffs. If a game five of a best-of-seven series is required, then all seven games will be played over the course of one week. No series goes longer than 7 games.
In case of a tie series, a tiebreaker game will be played at the discretion of the NHL Commissioner. This can be done either because it is necessary due to scheduling conflicts or if the league feels it is necessary to determine which team advances. The tiebreaker game is used to determine which team moves on in case of a tie series.
Teams that fail to make the playoffs are given the following instructions by the NHL: "A club failing to qualify during the regular season may apply for an expansion franchise through the office of the president of the National Hockey League."
As for how many teams have won the Stanley Cup? , The Chicago Blackhawks are the current champions after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in game six of the Finals. It is their third championship in six years and tenth overall.
The first two rounds of the playoffs will be intra-divisional, with the first seed playing the fourth seed and the second seed playing the third seed, with the winners facing off against each other. The last four teams will be seeded based on their regular season rankings in the third round, nicknamed the Stanley Cup Semifinals. These games will be best-of-seven series.
There is no limit on the number of games that can be played in a single playoff series. If necessary, the Stanley Cup could be decided in five or more games. The 1936-37 Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 4-3 in game 7 of the finals to win their first championship in team history.
In addition to the three main rounds, there is also a Game 7 back-to-back. If the series goes seven games, then the team that wins six games will advance to the next round. If it goes to game 7, then the team that wins game 6 will advance to the next round. Since 2008, if a team wins the seventh game of a series they will have home ice advantage for the following game. Previously, this was not the case and both teams had an opportunity to win on home ice.
In addition to the league's 31 clubs having to play reduced, 56-game regular-season schedules, the league rearranged the divisions for the season and modified how Stanley Cup playoff spots are determined. This season, there are no wild cards. Instead, the top four clubs from each division will make the playoffs. The first round is best of five games, and the semifinals and finals are also best of five.
Prior to this year's realignment, if a team finished with the most points accumulated over the course of the regular season were to win its division, they would have automatically made the playoffs. However, under the new system, a team can finish first in its division despite not having the highest point total by using a tiebreaker process called the "divisional round". The team that finishes first in its division will receive the #1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. Second place will get the #2 seed while third place gets the #3 seed. If two teams are tied for first place in their division, a series of tiebreakers will determine which club advances to the next round.
The structure and qualification procedure for the Stanley Cup Playoffs The winner is determined by a bracket-based tournament featuring wild cards. 16 teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as has been the case since 1979-80. The format is now a fixed bracket with wild cards that is mostly division-based. In some cases, such as when there is more than one team from the same conference qualifying, a cross-conference wild card may be used.
There are two ways to qualify for the playoffs: via regular season record or through winning the league championship. The top three finishers in each division qualify automatically; the fourth-place team in each division plays a one-game playoff to determine the final spot. If there is a five-way tie for fourth place, all these teams play a one-game playoff to determine who advances to the fifth round.
The winner of the first round earns a home game against either the second-place team from its own division or the third-place team from the opposite division. The winner of this best-of-seven series moves on to the next round. The two remaining teams play a best-of-seven series to determine which team advances to the next round. This process continues until we get to the finals, which are also best-of-seven series.
The team that wins four games out of seven goes on to face the team that won the previous year's championship in the Finals.
Format. The Stanley Cup playoffs are made up of four best-of-seven series. Each series is played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, which means that the home team hosts games one, two, five, and seven, while the opponent hosts games three, four, and six. Games 5, 6, and 7 are only played if necessary. If the series is tied 3-3, then a tiebreaker game will be played to determine who moves on to the next round.
Ties are broken by total goals scored during the regular season. If the teams are still tied after playing each other, they go into a penalty shootout. In this case, the team that wins the shoot-out gets a win and advances, while the loser goes home.
In the first round, the highest remaining seed plays against the lowest remaining seed. The second round follows a similar pattern: (1) higher remaining seed plays against (0). The third round features (1) higher remaining seed playing against (2), and so on.
In the Eastern Conference, if a matchup is scheduled as Chicago vs. Detroit, then Chicago will play at home for games one and three and away for games two and four. The same applies in the Western Conference, with Chicago playing at home for games one and three and away for games two and four.
In the first round, matches can be any length, but they must end by 10 p.m.