The Golden Knights and Hurricanes jump to the top of the early standings

The nod was placed on the 2022 NHL standings and the season the Colorado Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup championship in more than 20 years. Now that the 2022-2023 NHL regular season is underway, find out who leads the way in various divisions heading into the league’s new year.

NHL standings

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How many teams are going to the NHL playoffs?

The top 16 teams from the NHL rankings enter the playoffs — eight in each conference. Those teams then face off in a best-of-seven series over several rounds. The top three teams in the Metropolitan, Atlantic, Central and Pacific divisions are automatically spawned. Then, the teams with the next most regular season points earn the final two spots NHL playoffs to meet the division winners.

NHL playoff bracket

nhl rankings
Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After the final eight teams from each conference are decided, the brackets shake out. First, the top seed faces the lowest of the two wild card teams. Then, the second holder plays the second wild card. After that, the third seed faces the sixth and the fourth seed faces the fifth.

After the winners are decided among the top eight in each conference, the next four teams advance to the semifinal round and are then seeded again. The team with the most points among the remaining four faces the semi-final team with the fewest regular season points.

Related: Learn more about the NHL with Sportsnaut’s Power Rankings

When do the NHL playoffs start?

With the regular season ending on April 29, the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs began three days later on May 2. Various games for the championship tournament will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, TNT and TBS.

How many playoff rounds in the NHL?

There are four rounds in the NHL playoffs, three in each conference. Playoff action begins with the conference quarterfinal round. The winners from that group then face each other in the semi-finals, followed by the conference finals in which the two best teams from the East and West compete. The winners from each conference finals then compete in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series.

nhl rankings
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When is the Stanley Cup?

The 2022 NHL Finals between the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche began on June 15. The last six games were completed 11 days later on June 26.

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Who won the 2022 Stanley Cup?

In a six-game battle between the best of the Eastern and Western Conferences, the team with the second best record in 2022, the Colorado Avalanche, defeated the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2.

After winning their first two home games, including a dominant 7-0 shutout in Game 2, the Lightning struggled to win two of their next three. However, in Game 6, after trailing by a goal after the first period, the Avs came back to score two and win the organization’s third NHL championship 2-1.

2021-2022 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Recap

nhl rankings
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Recent Stanley Cup winners

  • 2022: Colorado Avalanche (6 games against Tampa Bay Lightning)
  • 2021: Tampa Bay Lightning (5 games vs. Montreal Canadiens)
  • 2020: Tampa Bay Lightning (6 games vs. Dallas Stars)
  • 2019: St. Louis Blues (7 games vs. Boston Bruins)
  • 2018: Washington Capitals (5 games against the Vegas Golden Knights)
  • 2017: Pittsburgh Penguins (6 games against Nashville Predators)
  • 2016: Pittsburgh Penguins (6 games vs. San Jose Sharks)
  • 2015: Chicago Blackhawks (6 games against Tampa Bay Lightning)
  • 2014: Los Angeles Kings (5 games against New York Rangers)
  • 2013: Chicago Blackhawks (6 games against Boston Bruins)

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