The NHL confirmed in a press release, more details in their NHL Return To Play playoff format on Thursday. The NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA approved that after the best-of-5 Qualifying rounds, the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs will be a best-of-7 series for all four rounds. They also gave the thumbs up for teams being reseeded after each round as opposed to the controversial bracket format that has been used since the 2013-14 NHL season.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 4, 2020
Another interesting tidbit, and one that applies to the Boston Bruins, is the round-robin tiebreaker. Per the release:
“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 then will remain the same throughout the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
The Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points, .714) had the highest winning percentage out of the four round-robin teams that will battle it out for the top four seeds in the playoffs while the other eight Eastern Conference teams play in the qualifying rounds. The Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points, .657), Washington Capitals (41-20-8, 90 points, .652) and Philadelphia Flyers (41-21–7, 89 points, .645) are the three teams the Bruins will play in the round-robin.
The league also confirmed that the home team in the Stanley Cup Final will be determined by regular season winning percentage which would mean that the Bruins could be the home team in the Final for the second straight season should they make it that far again. Of course, home advantage won’t matter in terms of atmosphere but it will play a role in some of the intricacies of the rules, such as which team gets last change each period.
Under the NHL Return Phase 2 guidelines and thanks to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker approving pro sports facilities to be open as of June 6, the Bruins are cleared to start involuntary workouts and skates this Saturday. However, it has not been confirmed, as of Thursday, if the Warrior Arena ice was put back in yet.