Video:Hockey Playoffs 101with Ben Kurtzman
The National Hockey League determines the season's best team through their playoff matches. Learn how the hockey playoffs are organized and how the best teams wind up at the Stanley Cup Final.See Transcript
Transcript:Hockey Playoffs 101
Hi, I am Ben Kurtzman for About.com and today I am going to tell you how the National Hockey League playoffs work. The NHL playoffs are an elimination tournament consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series. The winning team earns hockey’s top prize, the Stanley Cup.
Hockey Playoffs Determine Conference Winners
The NHL is split geographically into an Eastern and Western Conference. The first three rounds of the playoffs determine the champions of each conference. The final round, called the Stanley Cup finals pits the Eastern Conference champion against the Western Conference champion. The first round of the playoffs consists of four match-ups in each conference. Teams are seeded based on their regular season records. Each conference has three divisions and the champions of those divisions get the top three seeds, in order of their record. The fourth through eighth seeds go to each team in the conference based on their record. In the first round the highest seed plays the lowest seed Once the first round is complete, the teams are reseeded for the Conference semi-final. The top remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed.
The Hockey Playoffs Lead to the Stanley Cup Final
In the third round, the Conference Finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Final. For the first three rounds, the higher-seeded team has home-ice advantage. In the Stanley Cup Final, the team with the better regular season record gets home ice advantage.The team that wins the Stanley Cup Final wins the Stanley Cup, and the winning players and coaches get their names engraved on it.