The Stanley Cup playoffs are the best time of the year for the NHL and it's great for all the fans that love to watch the hockey games. The tempo, speed and excitement of the playoffs really picks up during these post season games. All the teams have been playing hard to reach the playoffs and once they get there they really turn it up so they can keep advancing to the final round...the infamous Stanley Cup finals! There are essentially a total of eight teams from each of the two conferences that qualify for the playoffs based on regular season points totals.
The NHL playoffs consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series. So the means, each team will need to win at least 4 games to advance to the next round. Once the regular season has completed, there will be a total of 16 teams that will be in the playoffs trying the win their way to the final round. The top three teams in each division earn automatic berths (6 teams per conference) and the next two teams in the conference earn wild-card spots. The wild-card spots are exciting to watch as the teams will be playing like the playoffs have already started, trying to get into the last playoffs spots, making the games really exciting to watch.
How the start of the playoffs works, is that the first round plays the top ranked team in the conference against the lower ranked wild-card, and the other division winner goes against the higher ranked wild-card. Then the second and third place teams in each division play each other, and then the first round winners will meet in the second round. As far as how the conferences are matched: The Western Conference (Pacific vs. Central) and Eastern Conference (Atlantic vs. Metropolitan) finals will determine who faces off in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The actual playoffs will start during the first week in April, once all the regular season games have been completed and all the points have been made from all the teams. The top teams in the regular season also get home ice advantage which can determine the first rounds. Teams will play two games in each team's city until all the games have been played or until one team wins four games. Each series builds up as the games get closer to game seven if it goes that far. At the beginning of the playoffs, there are games on the TV every night and if you're lucky enough to go to an actual game, you'll see just how electric the atmosphere is in the stadium. Some fans will even wave the white towel as one of the traditions during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Make sure you keep coming back to Team NHL to stay up on all the latest news on teams, players and status of all your favorite teams to see if they advanced. Then see who will be lifting the cup in June!