2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs preview, matchups, format


The National Hockey League has wrapped up regular season play, so it’s time for some postseason excitement.

Sixteen teams qualified for the 2023 NHL Playoffs while 16 other teams are beginning the offseason early. 

Last season, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-2 series to capture their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Here’s everything you need to know about the highly anticipated 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs:

When do the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs start?

The 2023 NHL Playoffs start on Monday, April 17.

How many rounds are there in the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs?

The 2023 NHL Playoffs consist of four rounds of best-of-seven series.

The first round is composed of the top two seeds in each division taking on the Wild Card teams. The other No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in each division will face off in the first round. 

The average postseason is made up of 86 games over a span of 57 days.

How many teams make the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs?

The league is made up of four divisions – Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific. The Atlantic and Metropolitan make up the Eastern Conference, while the Central and Pacific make up the Western Conference, consisting of 32 teams total. 

A total of 16 teams in the league make it to the postseason with eight from each conference. 

Which teams have clinched spots in the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs?

The teams that clinched spots in the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are as follows:

Eastern Conference

  1. Boston Bruins (Atlantic winner)
  2. Carolina Hurricanes (Metropolitan winner)
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs (Atlantic No. 2)
  4. New Jersey Devils (Metropolitan No. 2)
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic No. 3)
  6. New York Rangers (Metropolitan No. 3)
  7. New York Islanders (Wild card)
  8. Florida Panthers (Wild card)

Western Conference

  1. Vegas Golden Knights (Pacific winner)
  2. Colorado Avalanche (Central winner)
  3. Edmonton Oilers (Pacific No. 2)
  4. Dallas Stars (Central No. 2)
  5. Los Angeles Kings (Pacific No. 3)
  6. Minnesota Wild (Central No. 3)
  7. Seattle Kraken (Wild card)
  8. Winnipeg Jets (Wild card)

Which teams have been eliminated from making the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs?

The teams that did not make the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are as follows:

  1. Calgary Flames
  2. Nashville Predators
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Buffalo Sabres 
  5. Ottawa Senators
  6. Vancouver Canucks
  7. St. Louis Blues
  8. Washington Capitals
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Philadelphia Flyers
  11. Arizona Coyotes
  12. Montreal Canadiens
  13. San Jose Sharks
  14. Chicago Blackhawks
  15. Columbus Blue Jackets
  16. Anaheim Ducks

What are the 2023 NHL Playoff first-round matchups?

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Florida Panthers

A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning

M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 New York Islanders

M2 New Jersey Devils vs. M3 New York Rangers

Western Conference

P1 Las Vegas Knights vs. WC2 Winnipeg Jets 

P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings

C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. WC1 Seattle Kraken

C2 Dallas Stars vs. C3 Minnesota Wild

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