NHL finalizes details of playoff format amid coronavirus pandemic

The NHL announced Thursday more details of its playoff format for the 2019-20 Return to Play Plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The league said that all series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- except for the qualifying round -- will be a best-of-seven format, with matchups in each round determined by the seeding. Round-robin ties will be broken by regular-season points percentage.

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In each ensuing round of the playoffs, the highest remaining seed in each conference will face the lowest remaining seed, the second-highest remaining seed in each conference will face the second-lowest remaining seed, and so on. Ties in the round-robin -- featuring the top four teams from each conference -- will be broken by regular-season points percentage. The seeding order for these teams will then remain the same throughout the playoffs.

In determining home ice in the qualifying round, the higher-seeded team will be selected as the home team in Games 1, 2 and 5. The lower-seeded team will be designated as the home team in Games 3 and 4. For the first and second rounds, as well as the Conference Finals, the higher-seeded team will be selected as the home team in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. The lower-seeded team will be designated as the home team in Games 3, 4 and 6.

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For the Stanley Cup Finals, the team with the higher regular-season points percentage will be designated as the home team in Games 1, 2, 5, and 7, and the team with the lower regular-season points percentage will be designated as the home team in Games 3, 4 and 6.

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The league’s Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) approved of the playoff format, but the NHL and the NHLPA's plan is subject to reaching an overall agreement on resuming play.