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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.


Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada

The major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in those countries. The four leagues traditionally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Other prominent leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Canadian Football League (CFL). MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL are commonly referred to as the "Big Four." Each of these is the wealthiest professional club competition in its sport worldwide, and along with the English Premier League they make up the top five sports leagues by revenue in the world. In addition, the sports of these four leagues were all developed in their modern forms in North America, and all except American football have become popular internationally. Because the leagues enjoy a significant place in popular culture in the U.S. and Canada, the best players from these leagues often become cultural icons in both countries. Each of the Big Four leagues, as well as Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League, averages at least 15,000 fans in attendance per game as of 2018. The two indoor leagues, the NHL and NBA, play in arenas that average under 19,000 seats, resulting in the CFL holding the third highest average attendance of the six leagues, at close to 24,000 per game, after the NFL and MLB.The Big Four leagues currently have 30–32 teams each, most of which are concentrated in the most populous metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada. Unlike the promotion and relegation systems used in sports leagues in various other regions around the world, North American sports leagues are closed leagues that maintain the same teams from season-to-season. Expansion of the league usually occurs by adding newly formed teams, though mergers with competing leagues have also occurred.



The NHL on NBC is an American presentation of National Hockey League (NHL) games produced by NBC Sports, and televised on NBC properties, including MSNBC, CNBC, Golf Channel, USA Network and NBCSN in the United States. While NBC covered the league at various points in its history, the network's last relationship with the NHL is the result of NBC Sports acquiring the league's broadcast television rights from ABC in 2005. Its most recent contract with the league ran until the end of the 2020–21 NHL season; NHL broadcasting rights onward have been acquired by ABC/ESPN and Turner Sports. Though the main NBC network no longer airs NHL games, NBC Sports Regional Networks currently airs some games in the form of game telecasts that air on a regional basis, featuring local NHL franchises that each of the regional networks have respective broadcast rights to air in their designated market. From 2008 until the end of the NHL on NBC in 2021, NBC's regular season coverage included the annual NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor game usually played on New Year's Day; one national weekly regular season game each Sunday afternoon after New Year's Day; one week of nationally televised contests in February for Hockey Day in America; and one nationally televised game one day after Thanksgiving. NBCSN's coverage included 90 regular season games that were mostly aired on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, and later in the season on Sunday nights. Coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was split between NBC and NBCSN, with CNBC and the USA Network (beginning in 2015) airing selected playoff games during the first two rounds.



The NHL on TNT is an American presentation of National Hockey League (NHL) games produced by Turner Sports, and televised on TNT in the United States. In 2021, Turner Sports reached a seven-year contract to serve as one of the two rightsholders of the NHL in the United States, alongside ESPN/ABC, and both replacing NBC Sports. TNT will hold rights "up to 72" nationally-televised regular-season games per season, the annual NHL Winter Classic game on New Year's Day, half of the Stanley Cup playoffs (airing on TNT and TBS, with the latter billed as the NHL on TBS), and hold rights to the Stanley Cup Finals in odd-numbered years. The contract also includes an option for HBO Max to carry and/or simulcast games. Turner Sports has previously aired hockey, as the regional home for the Atlanta Flames and Atlanta Thrashers, and as the cable home for Olympic ice hockey from 1992–1998 for CBS. The co-owned AT&T SportsNet regional sports networks also hold local rights to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Seattle Kraken, and Vegas Golden Knights. However, Turner Sports never had a national contract with the NHL until the current deal was reached.


National Hockey League

The National Hockey League (NHL; French: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH, French pronunciation: [liɡ nasjɔnal də ɔkɛ]) is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 32 teams—25 in the United States and 7 in Canada. It is considered to be the top ranked professional ice hockey league in the world, and is one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The NHL is the fifth-wealthiest professional sport league in the world by revenue, after the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the English Premier League (EPL).The National Hockey League was organized at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal on November 26, 1917, after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association (NHA), which had been founded in 1909 in Renfrew, Ontario. The NHL immediately took the NHA's place as one of the leagues that contested for the Stanley Cup in an annual interleague competition before a series of league mergers and foldings left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup in 1926. At its inception, the NHL had four teams, all in Canada, thus the adjective "National" in the league's name. The league expanded to the United States in 1924, when the Boston Bruins joined, and has since consisted of both American and Canadian teams. From 1942 to 1967, the league had only six teams, collectively (if not contemporaneously) nicknamed the "Original Six". The NHL added six new teams to double its size at the 1967 NHL expansion. The league then increased to 18 teams by 1974 and 21 teams in 1979.



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