2022 NHL Playoffs: Understanding the path to the Stanley Cup


The National Hockey League is wrapping up its regular season play and gearing towards postseason excitement. While some NHL teams have already clinched a spot in the 2022 playoffs, others are still battling for a place to compete.

Last season, the sports world saw the Tampa Bay Lightning take home their second consecutive and third overall Stanley Cup. This year, the Florida Panthers (52-15) lead in the Eastern Conference while the Colorado Avalanche (53-14) lead in the Western Conference, but the cup is up for grabs.

Here’s everything you need to know about the highly anticipated 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs:

When do the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs start?

The 2022 NHL Playoffs start on Monday, May 2, three days after the regular season ends.

How many rounds are there in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs?

The 2022 NHL Playoffs consist of four rounds in best-of-seven series.

The first round is composed of the top two seeds in each division taking on the Wild Card teams. The other No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in each division will face off in the first round. 

The average postseason is made up of 86 games over a span of 57 days.

How many teams make the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs?

The league is made up of four divisions -- Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific. The Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions make up the Eastern Conference and the Central and Pacific divisions make up the Western Conference, consisting of 32 teams total. 

A total of 16 teams in the league make it to the postseason with eight from each conference. 

Which teams have clinched spots in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs?

There are teams that have already secured a spot in the 2022 NHL Playoffs even though there are still a few days left in the season. 

These teams include: Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Which teams have been eliminated from making the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs?

So far, a few teams have been eliminated from playoff contention prior to the end of the season. 

These teams include: Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Seattle Kraken and Arizona Coyotes.

What are the projected 2022 NHL Playoff first-round matchups?

Eastern Conference

A1 Florida Panthers vs. WC2 Washington Capitals

A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning

M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 Boston Bruins

M2 New York Rangers vs. M3 Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. WC2 Dallas Stars

C2 Minnesota Wild vs. C3 St. Louis Blues

P1 Calgary Flames vs. WC1 Nashville Predators

P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings

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