The NHL playoffs are upon us and as always, there are a few questions that come up every year. One of the most common questions is “How many teams are in the playoffs?”
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How many teams are in the NHL playoffs?
The NHL playoffs are a single-elimination tournament of 16 teams that compete for the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.
How the NHL playoffs work
Each year, 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The format is a best-of-seven tournament. The team that wins four games advance to the next round.
The first round of the playoffs is known as the Qualifying Round. In this round, the top four teams in each conference play each other in a best-of-five series. The winner of each series advances to the first round of the playoffs proper.
The second round of the playoffs is known as the Conference Semifinals. In this round, the winners of the Qualifying Round series in each conference play each other in a best-of-seven series. The winner of each Conference Semifinal series advances to their respective conference’s Final.
The third round of the playoffs is known as the Conference Finals. In this round, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other in a best-of-seven series. The winner of each Conference Final series advances to the Stanley Cup Final.
The fourth and final round of the playoffs is known as the Stanley Cup Final. In this round, the two remaining teams in the tournament play each other in a best-of-seven series to determine who will be crowned Stanley Cup Champions.
The history of the NHL playoffs
There are currently sixteen teams in the NHL playoffs. This was not always the case, however.
The Stanley Cup playoffs (French: Les séries éliminatoires de la Coupe Stanley) is an elimination tournament in the National Hockey League (NHL) consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series to determine the league champion and the winner of the Stanley Cup. Eight teams from each of the two conferences qualify for the playoffs based on regular season points totals.
How the Stanley Cup is determined
The Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in all of professional hockey. It is awarded to the team that wins the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is a best-of-seven series held after the conclusion of the regular season. The playoffs are contested between the top 16 teams in the National Hockey League (NHL), with eight teams coming from each conference (Eastern and Western).
The teams with the most Stanley Cup wins
As of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the teams with the most Stanley Cup wins are as follows:
-Montreal Canadiens: 24
– Detroit Red Wings: 11
– Toronto Maple Leafs: 11
– Boston Bruins: 6
– Chicago Blackhawks: 6
The teams with the most playoff appearances
There are a lot of teams in the NHL playoffs. As of the 2019-2020 season, the record for most playoff appearances is held by the Montreal Canadiens, who have made it to the playoffs an astonishing 43 times. They are followed closely by the Detroit Red Wings, who have made it to the playoffs 42 times.
The teams with the most recent Stanley Cup wins
NHL expansion teams that have yet to make the playoffs
-Vegas Golden Knights
The teams with the most recent playoff appearances
As of the end of the 2014-2015 NHL season, the teams with the most recent playoff appearances are as follows:
-Boston Bruins (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
-Chicago Blackhawks (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
-Detroit Red Wings (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
-Los Angeles Kings (2012, 2013, 2014)
-New Jersey Devils (2012, 2013)
-Pittsburgh Penguins (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
-Philadelphia Flyers (2010, 2011)
-St. Louis Blues (2011, 2012)
-Washington Capitals (2008)
The players with the most Stanley Cup wins
In order to make the playoffs, a team must first win their division, or have one of the best records in their conference if they did not win their division. The Stanley Cup playoffs is a tournament consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series. The four teams that make it out of the first round from each conference then compete in the second round, otherwise known as the conference semifinals. The winners of those series move on to the conference finals. From there, the two remaining teams face off in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The players with the most playoff appearances
There have been a total of 1,309 players who have appeared in at least one Stanley Cup Playoff game since the NHL’s first season in 1917-18. Of those, 549 have skated in at least 10 playoff games, a group that includes some of the League’s biggest names and most decorated players.
Here is a look at the top 20:
1. Chris Chelios: 266
2. Henri Richard: 247
3. Claude Lemieux: 234
4. Doug Harvey: 229
5. Larry Robinson: 227
6. Scotty Bowman: 223
7. Bob Gainey: 222
8. Jean Beliveau: 212
9. Mark Messier: 205
10. Glenn Anderson: 202
11. Jaromir Jagr: 201
12. Joe Sakic: 200
13. Steve Yzerman: 196
14. Brendan Shanahan: 188
15.) Scott Stevens: 187
16) Scott Niedermayer: 186 17) Raymond Bourque : 185 18) Patrick Roy : 185 19) Maurice Richard : 182 20) Igor Larionov : 172