The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff participating teams have been determined. Sunday evening marked the final game of the 2020 Qualifying Round, and the matchups to begin the upcoming First Round of the postseason have been set.
With the hometown Winnipeg Jets bowing out in four games to the Calgary Flames following a slew of injuries to the offence, fans from Manitoba may need to find a new ‘playoff team’ to cheer for this fall – Yes, we mean this fall. Thus, 17 Manitobans will continue in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Set to begin on Tuesday at 2:00 PM central, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will now be played as normal, with the only major difference being the participating teams will continue to live in the Edmonton and Toronto hub city bubbles. Four best-of-seven playoff rounds will occur, with higher ranked seeds holding ‘home ice advantage’.
Interestingly enough, the two best regular season teams from the abbreviated 2019-20 regular season (Boston, St. Louis) will begin the four-round postseason as No. 4 seeds, as poor play in the eight-team Round Robin Tournament (featuring the top-four teams of each conference) determined the rankings for the beginning of the official best-of-seven matchups.
Other surprising upsets on top of Calgary beating out the hurting Winnipeg Jets included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins losing to the 12th seed Montreal Canadiens, while Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers dropped their best-of-five matchup to the other No. 12 seed Chicago Blackhawks – who hadn’t won a postseason round since their last Stanley Cup victory (2015). Toronto also lost to Columbus, meaning that neither hub city would see its team continue past the Qualifying Round.
In the Western Conference, Vegas will host Chicago, Colorado will take on Arizona, Dallas will go to battle with Calgary, while St. Louis will play Vancouver. In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia will host Montreal, Washington will take on the New York Islanders, Boston will go at it with Carolina, while Tampa Bay will play Columbus.
Notable Manitobans listed on the rosters of each of the 16 teams participating in the first round of the postseason include:
- Vegas: Mark Stone (Winnipeg), Ryan Reaves (Winnipeg), Zach Whitecloud (Dakota Sioux Nation), Keegan Kolesar (Winnipeg), *Cody Glass (Winnipeg)
- Chicago: Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg), Duncan Keith (Winnipeg)
- Colorado: Matt Calvert (Brandon)
- Calgary: **Travis Hamonic (St. Malo), Michael Stone (Winnipeg)
- St. Louis: Alex Steen (Winnipeg)
- Vancouver: ***Micheal Ferland (Swan River)
- Philadelphia: Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn)
- Montreal: Max Domi (Winnipeg), Dale Wiese (Winnipeg)
- New York Islanders: Ryan Pulock (Grandview)
- Carolina: Jordan Martinook (Brandon), Joel Edmundson (Brandon), Morgan Geekie (Strathclair), James Reimer (Morweena)
- Tampa Bay: None
- Washington: None
- Boston: None
- Columbus: None
- Arizona: None
- Dallas: None
*Glass remains out of the Golden Knights’ lineup due to injury.
**Hamonic opted out of the return-to-play due to potential health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
***Ferland suffered an injury in the Qualifying Round against the Minnesota Wild.