The NHL Playoffs includes four best-of-seven series. Eight teams from each conference make the playoffs. The top 3 seeds from each division automatically qualify, while the remaining top two point getters from each conference get in as Wild Cards. The Eastern Conference 1st Round and the Western Conference 1st Round occur as follows:
Brackets for each conference are split by division. The 2 & 3 seeds in each division square off, while the lower seeded Wild Card battles the higher ranked division winner. The winners of each series in each conference will square off in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the Western Conference Semifinals. There is no reseeding and the higher seed still has home ice advantage.
The winners of the second round then face each other in the Conference Finals to determine which teams will represent each conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. After the first two rounds, the home team switches from the higher ranked team to the team with the better regular season record. All series throughout the Playoffs are in a 2–2–1–1–1 format.