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NHL finalizes more details in its return to play plan

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

The NHL has finalized more details of its return to play plan, further clarifying a 24-team format the league will use if it gets the green light to finish the 2019-20 season later this summer.

All four rounds of the playoffs will be a best-of-seven series; only the qualifying round will be a best-of-five.

Matchups for each round of the playoffs will be based on seeding, with the highest remaining seed in each conference facing off against the lowest remaining seed and so on.

Last week, the NHL officially ended the regular season that was paused March 12 by the coronavirus pandemic and introduced a revised path to the Stanley Cup.

Organized by points percentage, the top 12 teams in each conference will participate. The top four will play in a round robin to determine first-round seeding, and the remaining eight will square off in a best-of-five qualifying round to join them in the playoffs. The Wild is included in the qualifying round and would meet the No.7 Vancouver Canucks as the 10th seed in the Western Conference.

Ties in the round robin will be broken by regular-season points percentage, and the seeding order for these teams will remain the same throughout the playoffs.

In the qualifying round, the higher seed will be the home team for Games 1, 2 and 5. The higher seed will also be the home team for those games in the first and second rounds and the conference finals in addition to Game 7.

 

During the Stanley Cup Final, the team with the higher regular season points percentage will be the home team for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.

These parameters were approved by the NHL's Board of Governors and the NHL Players' Association. The NHL and NHLPA still have to reach an overall agreement on resuming play.

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