The NHL is gearing up for its potential return to the ice; with a crazy NCAA March Madness style play-in across ten days and will be set up the beginning to the NHL playoffs. I will be breaking down the format and including broadcast information so you will know where to watch your team when they start playing. 

The format for the play-in round is quite interesting as it will have eight different rounds in a best of five format and a round robin group stage between each of the top four in both conferences. The tournament will start with the round robins. The top four teams from the east and west will play in a group-stage format to determine the top four seeds.  Teams from the East will only play the East and vice versa with the West. The top four teams in the round robin are the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Washington Capitals. These teams will play for seeds one through four in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Round Robins from the West are St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Dallas Stars.

For the play-in best of five matchups, there are many an exciting series for the viewing public’s enjoyment here in the play-in stage. A few teams could be playing back to back days. Due to the condensed schedule there will be hockey games playing every hour for ten straight days. The series and the matchups are as follows; NYR vs CAR, EDM vs CHI,  PIT vs MTL, TOR vs CBJ, CGY vs WPG, VAN vs MIN, NYI vs FLA, NSH vs ARZ. 

Most of the broadcasts will be passed along to the local channels where games are played regularly. Additionally all local radio stations that usually air games will be airing the games as well. A few select games will be broadcasted on NBC, but that is to be expected. The return of hockey is imminent and it will be a wild ride through this tournament starting on August 1st. 

Top Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

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