If a recent report of the NHL’s plan for a 24-team playoff is true, the New York Rangers will tangle with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Though nothing has been finalized, the NHL and NHLPA seem to have worked out the beginning framework for a 24-team playoff format. Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the league plans to move forward with this format that will pit the New York Rangers against the Carolina Hurricanes in a five-game play-in series.
The where and when are still up in the air based on varying differences in the stay at home orders in each state, plus the closing of the Canadian border has extended to late June.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will consist of 24 teams, which has been the rumor for the past few weeks, with the top four teams in each division getting a bye. The bottom eight teams will play a best of five “play-in” series.
The teams that get a bye in the East would be Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia. The West teams would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas. These eight teams would play three games to stay fresh while the other 16 teams duke it out in five games.
If the NHL decides to move forward with this plan, the matchups are as follows:
Pittsburgh vs. Montreal
Carolina vs. New York Rangers
New York Islanders vs. Florida
Toronto vs. Columbus
Edmonton vs. Chicago
Nashville vs. Arizona
Calgary vs. Winnipeg
Following the play-in series, the remaining playoff games will be played in the traditional best-of-seven format.
There are still many more questions to be answered. Quarantine issues and COVID-19 testing procedures still have to be addressed. Not to mention, the teams and players must still approve the format along with all the logistics before things can move forward.