NHL Playoffs Will Have A Different Feel

As we reach the second half of June, we are starting to see more and more pieces fall into place for the 2020 NHL Playoffs. Camps are set to begin again on July 10, and some players have already returned and got back on the ice.

The unique playoff structure will feature 24 total teams playing in hub cities. The top four teams from each conference will have first-round byes and play in a round-robin to decide their seeding.

The top teams out of the Eastern Conference are the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Philadelphia Flyers. The teams without a first-round bye are the Penguins, Canadians, Hurricanes, Rangers, Islanders, Panthers, Maple Leafs, and Blue Jackets.

The top four teams from the Western Conference are the reigning champion St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars. The teams that will be playing in the first round are the Oilers, Blackhawks, Predators, Coyotes, Canucks, Wild, Flames, and Jets.

This should open up doors for some upsets early on and a way to cash out on the situation. The teams playing in the first round will have a small advantage of being able to play at least three, maybe five games before facing any of the top teams. Home-ice advantage has also been wiped away with the implementation of the hub cities.

Teams To Watch

The teams out of the first round I will be watching out for are the Blackhawks and Panthers. While Chicago has a tough first-round matchup, they have a ton of playoff experience on their side, and a well-rested Corey Crawford in net could give other teams trouble.

The Panthers have not been able to put together the season they wanted to, but they have plenty of talent on their roster, including a new goalie that could provide a deep run that not many expected.

Out of the top teams in each conference, I will be keeping my eye on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche. After finishing with the most points last year, the Lightning were swept in the first round.

They clearly have the roster to make a deep run, and this year, they will be looking for redemption.

The Avalanche always seem to just barely be on the outside looking in despite having some of the most talented lines in the league. This may be the year they are able to dial everything in and focus with all the distractions going on off the ice.

There is plenty of money to be made if one of these lower teams can put it all together and make a deep run. With the unique playoff format, this could be the time to cash in.

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