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NHL realignment now official:
Wild card playoffs, four divisions for next season



Here’s the playoff format for next season, via Dan Rosen of NHL.com:


The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added as a new wrinkle.

The top three teams in each division will make-up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.

The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lowest number of points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.


The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of each series will play for the divisional championship.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-realignment-now-official-wild-card-playoffs-four-162852277--nhl.html
 
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