It’s almost time for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL has settled back down after COVID-19 resulted in a delayed started to the 2021 playoffs. We’ve seen a restructuring of the playoffs and teams are starting to settle into their final positions.
Last year’s playoffs saw the league realigned into four divisions because of a need for a Canada-only division due to COVID-19 quarantine issues. The playoffs featured the top four teams in each division facing off in intra-division play for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
That structure has been carried over this year, but with the addition of two wild card teams in each conference. The top three teams in each division make the playoffs and then the next two teams across the conference with the best records are the wild cards. The best division winner in the conference faces the No. 2 wild card team and the second best division winner faces the No. 1 wild card team. The No. 2 and No. 3 seed in each division face off in the first round.
The NHL playoffs get started on May 2, and the bracket is slowly coming into focus. The No. 1 seed in each conference is settled, but the matchups are still coming into focus. Here’s a look at the current standings and how the bracket is shaking out for the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.