NHL Regular Season Schedule
The NHL regular season takes place over six months, beginning in the first week of October and ending in the first week of April. All 31 teams play an NHL regular season schedule of 82 games. Those contests take place on every day of the week and while most of the games are played at night, we have seen plenty of afternoon matinees especially on Saturday, Sunday and major holidays in both the United States and Canada.
The NHL regular season schedule isn’t completely balanced due to the odd number of teams (31) in the league. This happened when Vegas joined the league in the 2017-18 season. A balanced schedule should take place in the 2021-22 NHL regular season when an expansion team from Seattle joins the league.
In the meantime, every NHL club plays either four or five games in their division plus they play a home-and-home series with every team in the other conference. The remaining contests take place in the conference, either Eastern or Western, against the opposite division. What’s great for the NHL fans and bettors is that every team will play at least one game in every venue at least once per season.
The NHL regular season schedule has increased its brand by producing an outdoor game which is known as the “Winter Classic.” This matchup is played at a venue outdoors, usually in cold-weather settings in the month of January or February. The NHL regular season schedule also plays neutral site games overseas, usually in Europe, which is also tied to growth of the global brand.
NHL Playoffs Schedule
The NHL playoffs begin after the NHL regular season in the first week of April and usually end in the first week of June. Sixteen teams make the playoffs, eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference.
There are four rounds to the NHL Playoffs Schedule and all of the matchups are a best-of-seven playoff.
- First Round – Eight Series (16 teams)
- Second Round – Four Series (8 teams)
- Conference Finals – Two Series (4 teams)
- Stanley Cup Final – One Series (1 team)
The winner of each series will advance to the ensuing round until the Stanley Cup when a champion is crowned.