The dates and the venues for the return of NHL competition are now confirmed. The 2019-20 Stanley Cup playoffs set to be held in the Canadian cities of Edmonton and Toronto, with games starting on August 1 and scheduled to conclude no later than October 4.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has confirmed that a 24-team playoff format will be used, once the leading competition in professional ice hockey resumes. This has required lots of intense planning around the host venues and facilities the competing teams will utilize. Likewise, broadcasters are already confirming dates and game times, with live TV coverage available throughout North America and worldwide.
The Scotiabank Arena in Toronto will host all the Eastern Conference qualifiers and playoff games, including those featuring the Carolina Hurricanes, who have been paired against the New York Rangers in the Qualifying round. The winner of that series will progress to the First Round of the playoffs, accompanied by ambitions of reaching as far as they can.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>THE BRACKET IS SET 🙌<br><br>Who’s your pick to win the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StanleyCup</a>? <a href=”https://t.co/UsXpgYL44n”>pic.twitter.com/UsXpgYL44n</a></p>— NHL (@NHL) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NHL/status/1281743772968198147?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 11, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Meanwhile, qualifying round and playoff games in the Western Conference will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton. This venue is also scheduled to host the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.
Looking at the latest NHL betting odds for the Carolina Hurricanes, they are currently priced at +1800 to win the Eastern Conference and +3500 to win the Stanley Cup. Such odds would suggest that the team coached by Rod Brind’Amour will have to be at their absolute best, if they’re to stand any realistic chances of making a deep run through the playoffs.
Nevertheless, there’s also the sensation that because of the atypical nature of the playoffs this year, quite literally anything could happen. Although they are considered as only having an outside chance of winning the Stanley Cup, and must overcome the initial hurdle of passing through the qualifying round, Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams is confident his team can go far.
“We’re certainly not going into this series thinking we’re an underdog. We’re a Stanley Cup contender, and we know that.” Williams insisted, speaking with the official NHL Hurricanes website. Such confidence will surely come as a boost for Hurricanes fans, having waited patiently for their team to triumph.
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The last time Carolina tasted victory in the Stanley Cup was the amazing 2005-06 campaign. After producing an excellent 52-game winning regular season, the Hurricanes were just as potent in the playoffs, sweeping aside Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres.
Carolina then achieved their ultimate glory by 4 games to 3 in the Stanley Cup Finals, successfully defeating the Edmonton Oilers, which meant their name was engraved on the famous trophy. Given their hopes and expectations in 2020, it’s actually quite a coincidence that once again, the Hurricanes will be heading to Edmonton seeking another monumental triumph.
Anything is possible in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and there have been many surprise teams over the years, who went on to upset the odds and lift the Stanley Cup. Having finished the abruptly ended regular season in good form, hopefully the Hurricanes will be at their peak ready to storm their way through the playoffs.