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2014 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 16, 2014, and ended June 13, 2014 when the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Rangers four games to one in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston Bruins made the playoffs as Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Detroit Red Wings increased their consecutive playoff appearance streak to 23 seasons, the longest streak at the time and the fifth longest streak in NHL history. The Dallas Stars ended the league's third longest active playoff appearance drought, qualifying for the postseason for the first time in six years. For the first time since 1973, only one Canadian team qualified for the playoffs: the Montreal Canadiens. This was also the first time since the 1978 Stanley Cup playoffs that no playoff games were played in Western Canada. For the third time in four years, all three California-based teams again made the playoffs. The Columbus Blue Jackets won their first franchise playoff game on April 19, 2014, and their first ever franchise playoff home game at Nationwide Arena on April 23, 2014, both against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Three Original Six teams reached the Conference Finals, the first time this has occurred since 1979.

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2015 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 15, 2015, and ended on June 15, 2015, with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. The New York Rangers made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. They also came back from a 3–1 series deficit for the second consecutive year. The Detroit Red Wings increased their consecutive post-season appearance streak to 24 seasons, the longest current streak at the time and tied for the fourth-longest streak in NHL history. The Winnipeg Jets qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the former Atlanta Thrashers franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011; the only time that the Thrashers/Jets franchise made the post-season was in 2007, and the last time that the city of Winnipeg hosted a playoff game was in 1996, the season before the previous Winnipeg Jets team relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, to become the Coyotes. The Ottawa Senators became the first team in the NHL's modern era (since 1942–43) to overcome a 14-point deficit in the standings to clinch a playoff spot. Also, the Calgary Flames returned to the playoffs after a six-year absence. In total, five Canadian NHL teams qualified for the post-season, the most since 2004.The Los Angeles Kings became the first defending Stanley Cup champions since the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007 to fail to make the playoffs. The Boston Bruins failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and became the first reigning Presidents' Trophy winners to miss the post-season since the Buffalo Sabres in 2008 (and the third overall).

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2016 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 13, 2016 and ended on June 12, 2016, with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the San Jose Sharks four games to two in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals. For only the second time in league history (1970 being the only other time), none of the NHL's Canadian-based teams, seven in total, qualified for the postseason. In addition, for the second season in a row and only the fifth time since joining the league in 1979, all four former WHA teams (the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche) missed the playoffs. The Washington Capitals made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. This was the final season of the Detroit Red Wings' 25-season playoff appearance streak, the longest streak at the time and tied for third longest in NHL history. The Florida Panthers qualified for the playoffs for only the second time since the 1999–2000 season—both times winning their division—and fifth time in franchise history. For the fourth time in six years, all three California-based teams made the playoffs in the same season. And, for only the second time ever (1996 being the only other time), both Florida-based teams made the playoffs in the same season. For the first time since 2006, and only the third time in league history, all Original Six teams who made the playoffs (three in total) were eliminated in the first round.

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2017 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 12, 2017, after the 2016–17 regular season and concluded on June 11, 2017, with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the Nashville Predators four games to two in the Finals to win the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year. The Washington Capitals made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners for the second consecutive year with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Detroit Red Wings failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1989–90 season, ending the NHL's longest active playoff streak at 25 consecutive seasons; the streak was also tied for the third-longest streak in NHL history. The longest active playoff streak moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins with eleven consecutive appearances. The Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, ending a record-tying playoff drought for a team with ten years missed (the Florida Panthers also missed the playoffs between 2001 and 2011 inclusively). For the first time since 2006, both Alberta teams, the Oilers and the Calgary Flames, qualified for the postseason in the same year. For the first time since 2013, and the fourth time since 2002, all three Eastern Canadian teams (Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Maple Leafs) qualified for the playoffs. In all, five Canadian-based teams made the playoffs, matching 2004 and 2015, after a season in which none of the seven teams in Canada contended. Five Original Six teams made the playoffs, with only the previously mentioned Red Wings failing to make it.

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2020 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs was the playoff tournament of the National Hockey League (NHL). The playoffs began on August 1, 2020, and concluded on September 28, 2020, with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning their second Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Dallas Stars four games to two in the Stanley Cup Finals. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin in April, a few days after the 2019–20 regular season, and end in June. However, on March 12, the regular season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.On May 26, commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the league was going to use a 24-team playoff format to finish the season, conducted in two or more host cities as "hubs" with players placed under strict health protocols, quarantined from the general public, and all games played behind closed doors with no fans admitted. On July 10, the league ratified an agreement for its protocols with the NHL Players Association (NHLPA). The Eastern Conference played its early-round games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, while the early rounds for the Western Conference, as well as the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals, were played at Rogers Place in Edmonton. This was the first Stanley Cup playoffs to be contested entirely in Canada since 1925, as well as the first time that the Stanley Cup was awarded on Canadian soil since 2011.The Boston Bruins made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Pittsburgh Penguins increased their postseason appearance streak to fourteen seasons, the longest active streak. For the first time since 1996, all California-based teams, the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks, missed the playoffs.

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2022 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs was the playoff tournament of the National Hockey League (NHL). The playoffs began on May 2, 2022, one day after the 2021–22 NHL regular season, and concluded on June 26, 2022, with the Colorado Avalanche winning their third Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two in the Stanley Cup Finals.With the Government of Canada allowing cross-border travel for fully vaccinated players and team personnel between Canada and the United States, the league was able to return to its usual two conference, four division alignment. As a result, the standard 16-team playoff format that was used before the COVID-19 pandemic from 2014–2019 was reinstated.The Florida Panthers made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Pittsburgh Penguins increased their postseason appearance streak to 16 seasons, the longest active streak in the four major North American professional sports leagues. Three of the semifinalists from the previous season (the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights) failed to qualify for the playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings ended a two-year run in which no teams from California qualified for the playoffs. All eight playoff teams from the Eastern Conference finished the season with at least 100 points, marking the first playoffs in NHL history in which all eight teams in a single conference qualified with at least 100 points. Florida's opening round series victory over the Washington Capitals was their first series win since the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals. This postseason marks the third time that the league has played 50 or more games in opening round of the playoffs since this round was changed to a best-of-seven format in 1987.

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Bracket (tournament)

A bracket or tournament bracket is a tree diagram that represents the series of games played during a knockout tournament. Different knockout tournament formats have different brackets; the simplest and most common is that of the single-elimination tournament. The name "bracket" is American English, derived from the resemblance of the links in the tree diagram to the bracket punctuation symbol ] or [ (called a "square bracket" in British English). The closest British term is draw, although this implies an element of chance, whereas some brackets are determined entirely by seeding. In some tournaments, the full bracket is determined before the first match. In such cases, fans may enjoy trying to predict the winners of the initial round and of the consequent later matchups. This is called "bracketology", particularly in relation to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. This prediction is not possible in tournaments, such as the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League knockout phase, in which the pairings for a later round might not be made until after the previous round has been played (UEFA Champions League makes its ultimate bracket draw at the quarterfinal stage ).

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Stanley Cup playoffs

The Stanley Cup playoffs (French: Les séries éliminatoires de la Coupe Stanley) is an elimination tournament in the National Hockey League (NHL) consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series to determine the league champion and the winner of the Stanley Cup. Eight teams from each of the two conferences qualify for the playoffs based on regular season points totals. The final round is commonly known as the Stanley Cup Finals, which matches the two conference champions. The NHL is the only major professional sports league in North America to refer to its playoffs by the name of its championship trophy, a tradition which has arisen because the Stanley Cup is North America's oldest professional sports trophy, dating back more than two decades before the establishment of the NHL. Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892 by Lord Stanley of Preston, then–Governor General of Canada, initially as a "challenge trophy" for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. From 1893 when the first Cup was awarded to 1914, the champions held onto the Cup until they either lost their league title to another club, or a champion from another league issued a formal challenge and defeated the reigning Cup champion in a final game to claim their win. Professional teams then first became eligible to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. Starting in 1915, the Cup was officially contested between the champion of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the champion of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). After a series of league mergers and folds, including the 1917 establishment of the NHL as a successor to the NHA, the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the NHL prior to the 1926–27 season. The NHL has always used a playoff tournament to determine its champion. The league's playoff system has changed over the years, from the NHL's inception in 1917, to when the NHL took over the Cup in 1926, to the current setup today.

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