What is new for the 2021 NHL season?

Following a fantastic 2019-20 Stanley Cup playoff run, which ended three and half months ago, NHL action returns tonight. With a normal 82-game schedule planned for the 2021-22 season, each team is slated to play 56 games this year. The conference setup has been eliminated and the four divisions have been realigned based on geographic location. The regular season is scheduled to end on May 8 and playoffs are slated to begin on May 11.

There is a lot to like about the 2021 NHL set up. Many long-standing rivalries remain in place and the short season projects to be a playoff-style sprint from start to finish. League realignment is pictured below and teams will play all games within their division. Central, East and West teams are based in the United States and will play each other eight times. The North Division is home to the seven Canadian teams and they will play each other either nine or 10 times.

Based on the final regular season standings, the top four teams in each division will advance to the playoffs. Set up as best-of-seven series, the first two rounds will determine the four division champions. Those teams will then be seeded based on their regular season point totals for the semifinal and Stanley Cup final rounds. Prior to the postseason, NHL fans can wager on the 868 game schedule that will play out over 116 consecutive days. Let’s get to opening night action.

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