The National Hockey League announced more details about the Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2020 playoffs yesterday, here’s what we know.
The NHL’s official media site released that the first round of the playoffs (the qualifying round) will be a best of 5 series. That means that the Pittsburgh Penguins will have 5 opportunities to take out the Montreal Canadiens once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
Best of 5 series’ can get a little bit tricky because if you have just one slip up, that could be the end of the series and your playoff hopes. The Penguins will have to bring their “A” game next month. After that, each round will be a best of 7 series to include the Stanley Cup Final.
The National Hockey League also broke down how the seeding will go once the playoffs commence. After each round is over, the league will reseed the bracket putting the highest-ranked team against the lowest-ranked side. For the Penguins, that means if they move on to the next round, they will most likely face off against their hated Pennsylvania rivals.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Updated details for the 2020 NHL Playoffs
That is, of course, if the round-robin matches turn out how the regular season did. Speaking of which, if there is a tie after the round-robin carousel ends, it will be decided by each team’s regular-season points percentage. None of that matters to the Penguins, however, but it will surely pinpoint who they play if they get passed Montreal.
The last bit of new details issued out pertained to home ice and how it will be broken down. For the best of 5 qualifying rounds, the higher seed will be home for games 1, 2, and 5 if needed. If all goes right for Pittsburgh, they won’t need a game 5 or even come back to Pittsburgh after game 3 until the next round.
For the next 2 rounds, the higher seed will play at home for games 1,2,5, and 7 if needed and the lower seeded teams get 3,4, and 6 at home. The same format follows for the Stanley Cup Finals but instead of seeding, home ice will be given to the team with the highest regular-season point percentage. Additionally, the NHL will start phase 2 next week, meaning individualized training.
If you’re curious, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season point percentage was .623%, with the league average being .558%. Overall in the NHL, the Penguins ranked 7th in point percentage. If the Penguins make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and don’t play either St. Louis or Colorado, they will be the home side based on that same percentage.