If the NHL and the Pittsburgh Penguins resume this year, a 24-team playoff might be the only way. The Penguins should welcome that scenario; let’s talk about why.
According to PHN, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of the NHL for that matter are inching closer towards a 24-team playoff. That report and the one from Pierre LeBrun of TSN where he talked about there being traction over the past weekend, add hope.
Going even further in-depth, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reported a hopeful structure could break down the 24 teams into some sort of round-robin style of play. That proposed formula would look something like this:
Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.
Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets.
St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, and Chicago Blackhawks.
Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, and Minnesota Wild.
Lavoie’s proposal would see teams would play five games in nine days against their divisional opponents. Then the top 2 sides would be on a bye and seeds 3-6 would play a best of 3 series’s to determine who would join the first and second-ranked teams in a normal 16-team formatted bracket.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Bring on a 24-team playoff format in 2020
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Another proposal could see the Pittsburgh Penguins play against the Montreal Canadiens in a best of 3 series. Being that the Pens are the third seed and the Canadiens are the 12th in the East, that would propose that once again numbers 1 and 2 take the round off. Truthfully, nobody knows, but either way, it would be fun to watch. Now, let’s get down to the real stuff.
In either scenario, it somewhat favors the Penguins. Yes, it might not be fair since they would typically be granted an automatic seed under old rules, but things change. Whether it’s them playing Montreal in a best of 3, or their divisional foes in an everything goes five games in 9 days format, BRING IT ON!
With the majority of the season finished, and most of the Pens divisional games played, overall there record looks like this: 13 Divisional games played ( 6 wins and seven losses). The Pen’s toughest opponent is either Washington or New York, where they lost twice to each opponent. The Flyers and Blue Jackets have been there best divisional foes, but anything goes in the playoffs.
At this point, if the NHL does do a 24-team format, it will most likely be played in neutral cities and not be homes to either of the teams playing in that round. It could be a fast-paced July and something that fans would want to see as this could finally be the light at the end of the tunnel.