After a long and grueling regular season, 16 teams participate in the NHL Playoffs. Every team needs 16 wins to reach their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. Shortened season or not, every NHL team that makes it that far has a reasonable shot at making waves in the playoffs. Look no further than the New York Islanders in 2020.
For the 2021 season, the NHL has realigned its divisions and opted for a 56-game schedule with only inter-divisional play. That changed how the early round of the playoffs will be matched up but each team still needs to win four best-of-seven series to hoist the Stanley Cup.
Here’s your guide to how the NHL playoffs work, which teams are favorites to make it deep, and how you can bet on every NHL playoff game and series right here in PA.
The NHL Playoffs will begin in mid-May. Sixteen teams will compete for the right to call themselves champions. Below, you’ll find futures odds on teams aiming to make the playoffs and live odds for each playoff game once the playoffs begin.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. The majority of that core is still in place. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang are still amongst the best in their league at their positions. The last few Penguins seasons have ended with early playoff departures, so they will be looking to change that in 2021. Below, you’ll find the odds on the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup as well as their conference and division.
The Philadelphia Flyers made some noise in the second half of last season. They made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they lost to the upstart New York Islanders. Goaltender Carter Hart should give the Flyers stability in the net, something they’ve long desired. Below, you’ll find up-to-the-minute odds on the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup as well as their division and conference.
Pennsylvania has legalized sports betting and its residents couldn’t be happier. Gone are the days of illegal bookies or sketchy offshore websites. Now, sports betting is live and widely available online. You can bet through your laptop, or on your phone through an app. Either way offers great convenience to get in on the action.
Stanley Cup betting through an app offers you the convenience of being able to bet no matter where you are within the state. If you’re on the train home from work, you can place a bet. If you’re at the game, you can place a bet right on your phone. You can watch the playoffs and bet, no matter where you are in the state.
Here’s a step by step process on how to register an account and begin betting on sports in Pennsylvania:
In 2020, the NHL played its postseason in two bubbles in Canada. They also had a play-in qualifying round for all teams seeded between 5 and 12 in each conference. This season, there will be no bubble and there will be no play-in round, but there will still be changes to the playoff format.
In a normal season, the league is split into two conferences with two divisions each. This year, there are no conferences.
Instead, the league has split its 31 teams into four divisions. The divisions will play between 8-10 games each against their division rivals. Teams will only play the teams in their division.
At the end of the regular season, the top four teams in each division will advance to the playoffs. The teams will be seeded based on the number of points they’ve accumulated during the regular season. The tiebreaker for teams with an equal number of games played and points is regulation time wins.
For the playoffs, the league will continue playing only inter-divisional matchups. The one seed in each division will play the four seed while the two seed will play the three seed. The higher seed will get the home-ice advantage. The two winners of these matchups will play each other. All playoff series will be best-of-seven series.
Once there is only one team left standing in each division, the NHL will re-seed the four remaining teams based on their point totals from the regular season. The same tiebreaker will apply. Home-ice advantage will go to the higher seeded team.
The best remaining team will play the worst remaining team, while the second and third seed will face-off against each other. The winners of the two matchups will play in the Stanley Cup Final.
The playoffs are the best part of the season for any sport, and that rings true in hockey as well. Every night will feature intense matchups between rival teams as they try and stave off elimination and advance. This means the betting action will also be intense, with each game having so much impact. Here are some ways to get involved in Stanley Cup playoff betting.
Here are three teams that many expect to be competing for the Stanley Cup come June.
The Stanley Cup does not have to be won by one of the top teams in the league. A lot of lesser teams can make a case for bringing home the Cup.
Winning one Stanley Cup is already challenging enough, but winning multiple Stanley Cups in a row is a tremendous accomplishment. Here’s a list of teams who have won multiple Cups in a row since the 1967 NHL expansion:
|1968, 1969||Montreal Canadiens|
|1974, 1975||Philadelphia Flyers|
|1976, 1977, 1978, 1979||Montreal Canadiens|
|1980, 1981, 1982, 1983||New York Islanders|
|1984, 1985||Edmonton Oilers|
|1987, 1988||Edmonton Oilers|
|1991, 1992||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|1997, 1998||Detroit Red Wings|
|2016, 2017||Pittsburgh Penguins|
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup as an 8th seed in 2012. As the last team to qualify from the Western Conference, the Kings eliminated the 1, 2, and 3 seeds in their conference.
They beat the Western Conference Champion and Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks in five games in the first round. The Kings then swept the two seed, St. Louis in the Conference semi-final. In the Conference Final, Los Angeles made quick work of the third seed, Phoenix Coyotes, eliminating them in five games.
In the Stanley Cup Final, Los Angeles completed the improbable run by beating the New Jersey Devils in six games.
The NHL playoffs are available locally in the first round. If the Flyers make the playoffs, NBC Sports Philadelphia will carry the games for the first round. The same thing applies to the Penguins with AT&T SportsNet. You can watch those games by streaming them through either the NBC Sports App or the AT&T SportsNet app. You will need to sign in with cable credentials.
After the first round of the playoffs, the remaining rounds are broadcast nationally on the NBC family of networks. Games are broadcast on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and USA Network. You can stream those games through the NBC Sports App and Peacock App.
Here are the results of the Stanley Cup Final over the past 10 seasons:
|2019-20||Tampa Bay Lightning||Dallas Stars||4-2|
|2018-19||St. Louis Blues||Boston Bruins||4-3|
|2017-18||Washington Capitals||Vegas Golden Knights||4-1|
|2016-17||Pittsburgh Penguins||Nashville Predators||4-2|
|2015-16||Pittsburgh Penguins||San Jose Sharks||4-2|
|2014-15||Chicago Blackhawks||Tampa Bay Lightning||4-2|
|2013-14||Los Angeles Kings||New York Rangers||4-1|
|2012-13||Chicago Blackhawks||Boston Bruins||4-2|
|2011-12||Los Angeles Kings||New Jersey Devils||4-2|
|2010-11||Boston Bruins||Vancouver Canucks||4-3|