- Eastern & Western conference qualifying odds
- Stanley Cup winner futures
- The stadium set-up at Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Centre
If you’ve ever wished for hockey in summertime, your time has come — The best game you can name is back on August 1, with the NHL Return To Play plan since the season was postponed on March 12.
Read on to learn how the NHL’s return to hockey will work, learn more about the exhibition & qualification games, and last but not least, the odds to bet on before (and while) the games finally begin.
NHL Return to Play: How it Works
The season will resume with 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup, with Eastern Conference teams using Toronto as a player hub while playing at Scotiabank Arena, and Western Conference teams using Edmonton as a player hub while playing at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
The format is a little complex, and Stanley Cup Qualifying will work something like this:
- Round robins will seed the top-4 teams in the Western and Eastern Conference
- The qualifying round is also being called the ‘play-in’ round, where 8 remaining teams will play the best-of-five series, and advance to the First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs
- The Stanley Cup Playoffs will include four rounds: First Round, Second Round, Conference Finals and last but not least, the Stanley Cup Final. 16 teams will matchup in each round, with the highest seed left in each conference facing-off against the lowest seed, the second-place seed will face against the second-lowest seed, and so on and so forth.
Training camps opened for NHL players in mid-July, and Exhibition games will be held from July 28-30, starting with the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, followed by the Maple Leafs vs. the Montreal Canadiens, and the Edmonton Oilers vs. the Calgary Flames.
After a nearly 5-month of stretch without formal NHL games, players (and fans alike) are eager to face-off against rivals during exhibition games, which gives players and teams a chance to adjust to the ice, observe their opponents game and get ready overall for qualifying rounds.
Exhibition games don’t provide seeding and don’t count toward Stanley Cup Qualifications, but provide players a chance to warm up on the ice ahead of qualifications & playoffs after a long mid-season break.
Exhibition Games: Where to Watch
You can watch Toronto vs. Montreal on SN1, TVAS or NHLN at 8PM ET, and Edmonton vs. Calgary at 10:30 PM ET on SN, NHLN or NHL.tv.
The First Match
Officially, 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin August 1. How does qualifying work?
The top four teams of the Eastern and Western Conferences will play a three-game round robin. Seeds 5 through 12 seeds will compete in eight best-of-five series, with winners moving on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs first round against the top four teams from the round-robin game.
There will be five games in total the first day, with three in the East and two in the West. The first teams to kick-off the official start of the Playoffs with qualifiers and round-robins will be:
- New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricans
- Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders
- Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oiler
- Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets
In another move to make the games starting August 1 as entertaining as possible for audiences across North America, the league will use up to 35 cameras instead of the standard 12, to provide video and photos, so you miss none of the action.
The rink is fitted with LED screens, entrance music for players and even video & audio of a crowd – No dolls here.
Where to Watch
You can watch the first Eastern Conference game, the New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes on August 1 at 12PM ET on NBCSN, NHL.tv, SN, SN360, TVAS, MSG or FS-CR.
2020 Stanley Cup Qualifying Odds
How will the Stanley Cup Qualifying games go? Here are the odds from our friends at BetOnline:
Who will win the number one seed game and move on to the playoffs from the Eastern Conference?
When it comes to the Bruins, David Pastrnak, who’s had to complete not one, but two quarantines, one coming from the Czech Republic and another after skating with locals at a Boston hockey-rink – It’s still uncertain if the forward be allowed to play with his team, but they’re still the favored team to win.
Let’s see where the other Eastern teams stack up:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+250|
2020 Stanley Cup Qualifying Odds: Who will win the number one seed game and move on to the playoffs from the Western Conference?
We can’t say for sure, but perhaps the comfort of family photos will give St. Louis Blues’ players an edge?
If not, pre-March 12, the Blues’ were one of the top Western teams, and are favored to take the seeded game once again.
Goalie Jordan Binnington certainly plans on beating Chicago, saying, “I enjoy winning …Hopefully we can use the momentum we had a few months ago in the regular season and continue to work together to build as a team and put some good performances together.”
|St. Louis Blues||+165|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+285|
Who will win the Stanley Cup?
|St. Louis Blues||+750|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+750|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+1000|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+2800|
|New York Rangers||+3300|