Event Previews

NHL set to resume; League and NBC get right to the chase for the Stanley Cup in Edmonton and Toronto

He shoots, he scores! Time for the opening faceoff…

Alexander Ovechkin celebrates Washington cup

From blistering slapshots to crafty stickhandling moves and from stirring glove saves to highlight reel passing plays, hockey aficionados can’t wait for August 1st to come.

The Eastern Conference Playoffs will be held in Toronto, while Edmonton will serve as the home to the Western Conference Playoffs, Eastern and Western Conference Finals, and Stanley Cup Finals.

Twelve teams from both the Eastern and Western Conference will have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. As released in May, the top four teams from each conference will play a round-robin tournament to determine seeds 1-4 for each conference. The other eight teams per conference will compete in a 10-day best-of-five play-in series to determine who advances to the typical 16-team best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Whichever eight teams do not advance will each have a 12.5% chance of earning the coveted #1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to pick Canadian prospect, Alexis Lafreniere. But first, let’s breakdown an array of the most intriguing play-in matchups.

Games will be broadcast on NHL Network, NBC and its tentacles of cable networks. The television schedule has not yet been released.

The broadcasters will be calling games remotely. We’ll hear from them shortly on what they can expect from this unforeseen experience.

Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs. New York Rangers (11)

  • Superstar forwards, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, have absolutely torched the Hurricanes this past regular season. Panarin and Zibanejad led the Rangers to a 4-0 regular-season record against the Hurricanes and combined for 16 points in those contests. All signs may lead to an easy series victory for the Rangers, but this is surely not the case. The Hurricanes possess a skilled young offensive core in Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teivo Teivainen. Furthermore, veteran blue-liner, Dougie Hamilton, is healthy and ready-to-go. After advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2019, it is clear that the Hurricanes have the potential to make a championship run. Fasten your seat belts. This series will be electric and features two of the best up and coming franchises in the league.

Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)

  • Until running into the Boston Bruins, each and every year the Maple Leafs seem poised for a potential Stanley Cup run. With the new playoff format and with the games being held at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, could this finally be the year the Maple Leafs can make some magic? (Last Stanley Cup championship in 1967) With Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander, the Leafs arguably have the most potent offense in the league. However, the Blue Jackets are a very special team of their own and always seem to pull off playoff heroics. In 2019, the Blue Jackets swept the Tampa Bay Lightning after the Lightning had a historic season going 62-16-4. Head coach John Tortorella believes in a defensive game and instills this mindset in his players. Many believe that this series will come down to a Game 5. Will the Maple Leafs offense outperform the Blue Jackets defense, or will the Jackets shut down the Leafs? Game 1 will take place on August 2nd .

Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks

  • From Patrick Kane to Connor McDavid and from Jonathan Toews to Leon Draisaitl, this series will be a fun one. To many, Connor McDavid is seen as the best player in the world. Leon Draisaitl is coming off a dazzling season where he won the Art Ross Trophy and is in the running for the NHL MVP. With an aging Chicago core in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, it seems to many hockey enthusiasts that the Oilers will sweep the series. This might not be the case. Kane and Toews led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup victories in a six year span (2010, 2013, 2015). Furthermore, the Blackhawks have some young talent of their own in Dominik Kubalik and Alex DeBrincat. Will the playoff experience of the Blackhawks propel them to victory, or will the McDavid-Draisaitl duo be too much for the Hawks to handle? Guess we’ll have a chance to see on August 1st.

Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)

  • A battle of Canadian squads! What a series in store. The Flames were upset by the Colorado Avalanche in five games back in 2019, and the Jets seem to suffer a heart-breaking playoff loss every season. Could it be one of these teams time to shine? With Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, and Kyle Connor for the Jets and with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan on attack for the Flames, there is no shortage of offensive weapons. Reigning Norris Trophy winner, Mark Giordano, will look to halt the Jets. Former Vezina Trophy winner, Connor Hellebuyck, will look to prevent pucks from entering his net. This series will be a thriller!

NBC Sports will be carrying the Stanley Cup Finals, and many of the other NHL playoff games that are coming up. Fans will hear lots of Eddie Olcyk, Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Pierre McGuire and Kenny Albert. 

Full NHL Stanley Cup Qualifier and Round-Robin Schedule:

*TBD Games Depending on Series Length


Eastern Conference Round-Robin

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers vs. Bruins
Monday, Aug. 3: Capitals vs. Lightning
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Saturday, Aug. 8: Bruins vs. Capitals
Sunday, Aug. 9: Flyers vs. Lightning

Pittsburgh Penguins (5)  vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Monday, Aug. 3: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Penguins vs. Canadiens*

Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs.  New York Rangers (11)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

New York Islanders (7) vs. Florida Panthers (10)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Panthers vs. Islanders
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*

Western Conference Round-Robin

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche
Monday, Aug. 3: Stars vs. Golden Knights
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

Nashville Predators (6) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes vs. Predators
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

Vancouver Canucks (7) vs. Minnesota Wild (10)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild vs. Canucks
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Jets vs. Flames
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets vs. Flames
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*


2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifier schedule - ProHockeyTalk | NBC Sports




Blake Taub

Blake Taub majors in Sport Management at Syracuse University in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He looks forward to a fruitful career in sports. When not at Syracuse, Blake resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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