NHL will go straight into playoffs upon return

The 2019-2020 NHL regular season is over.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday the NHL’s plan once the league returns.

The NHL will go with a 24 team playoff format, an expansion from the regular 16 team format.

“When the go-ahead from medical experts and the relevant government authorities is given, 24 of our 31 teams will resume play,” said Bettman on Tuesday.

The playoffs will see the top four teams from each division get a bye into the second round.

The remaining eight teams from each conference will play a best of five series.

The Playoff matchups will be as follows.

Eastern conference

(5)Pittsburgh Penguins vs (12)Montreal Canadians

(6)Carolina Hurricanes vs (11)New York Rangers

(7)New York Islanders vs (10)Florida Panthers

(8)Toronto Maple Leafs vs (9)Columbus Blue Jackets

First Round byes go to: Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Tampa Bay Lightning

Western Conference

(5)Edmonton Oilers vs (12)Chicago BlackHawks

(6) Nashville Predators vs (11) Arizona Coyotes

(7) Vancouver Canucks vs (10) Minnesota Wild

(8) Calgary Flames vs (9) Winnipeg Jets

First Rounds Byes go to: St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Las Vegas Golden Knights, and Edmonton Oilers.

There were no firm dates given but Bettman speculates that the season will continue into the early fall, with training camp starting in July.

When the season does continue the NHL will use hub cities but those cities have not yet been determined.

Bettman did mention that Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Los Angelas, Minnesota, Toronto, and Vancouver are all being considered.

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