Last week, the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association voted to ratify the Return to Play protocol and collective bargaining agreement, it was announced Friday evening.
Then things went quickly from there, training camps open and players got tested, and now on Tuesday night, the day-by-day and series-by-series schedule for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers was made public by the NHL. You can see when your favourite team will be playing, and set your schedule around it!
Teams will travel from their home markets on July 26 to either Toronto or Edmonton, the hub cities where all of the games will be played. The entire playoff tournament is scheduled to be completed in no more than 62 days — commencing Aug. 1 with the best-of-five qualifying round and producing a champion by the first week of October.
Up to three games per day in each city will be played to start. It will be quite a busy time in the NHL!
The top four teams in each conference, based on points percentage, will play a three-game round-robin, and the No. 5-12 seeds will play in eight best-of-5 series. The winners of those series will advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the four teams from the round-robin.
There will also be exhibitions games on July 28th and July 29th, before the real action begins. It was revealed what games will take place ahead of the tournament and it sounds like, in the East, the Montreal Canadiens will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs - classic - the Tampa Bay Lightning will battle the Florida Panthers, the two New York clubs will face each other, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet in a battle of Pennsylvania, the Carolina Hurricanes will play against the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins will need to win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In the West, you guessed it, the the Oilers are expected to play the Flames in pre-playoff game, exhibition contest, on Tuesday, July 28th. The Vancouver Canucks will face the Winnipeg Jets, the Dallas Stars will meet with the Nashville Predators - a Winter Classic repeat - the Chicago Blackhawks will face the St. Louis Blues, the Arizona Coyotes will face the Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild will face off against the Colorado Avalanche.
Get ready for action, folks!