Local Florida Teams
There are two local NHL teams in the Sunshine state. Both teams are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference and regularly face off during the regular season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning was founded in 1992 as the first Floridian NHL team. The next year they were joined by the Florida Panthers, who are based in the Miami metropolitan area.
The Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL. Up north, the Tampa Bay Lightning has managed to become one of the elite NHL teams on the ice. There are over 16,000 fans with season tickets, renewals rates at almost 95%, and the highest viewership in Lightning history.
Their matchups are always exciting and fun for all Florida hockey fans and betting enthusiasts alike.
Current Team and Conference Structure in NHL
There is a total of 31 teams in the NHL. Although it’s called the National Hockey League, there are teams from two neighboring countries. Seven teams are from Canada and 24 call USA home. The league is divided into two conferences and four divisions.
Buffalo, New York
|Detroit Red Wings||
|Tampa Bay Lightning||
|Toronto Maple Leaves||
Raleigh, North Carolina
|Columbus Blue Jackets||
|New Jersey Devils||
Newark, New Jersey
|New York Islanders||
New York City, New York
|New York Rangers||
New York City, New York
Saint Paul, Minnesota
|St. Louis Blues||
St. Louis, Missouri
|Los Angeles Kings||
Los Angeles, California
|San Jose Sharks||
San Jose, California
Vancouver, British Columbia
|Vegas Golden Knights||
Bet on The Playoffs: Where the Best Teams Meet
The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been the yearly highlight of hockey for decades. The format of the postseason has been the same since 1979-80. Sixteen teams make it into the First Round. Eventually, two teams make it to the finals, and one goes home with the Cup.
That said, the 2019-20 season has been put on pause because of the pandemic. Due to this unexpected interruption in the NHL season, the league has confirmed a new format for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In this guide, we’ll cover the standard 16-team format and a bit of what to expect from the 2019-20 postseason.
The format of the NHL playoffs is a qualification system. The tournament consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series. There are set brackets that are primarily based on division standings, though there are wildcards.
Normally, twelve teams make it into the postseason, three from each division. The remaining four spots are filled by the two highest-placed teams in each conference, regardless of their division.
In the First Round, teams are split into two brackets based on division. The team with the top record will go up against the wild card team with the worst record. The second and third finishers in each division face off.
The winners of this round within each bracket will then play another in the second round. The reseeding from the first format is discarded. Four teams move into the Conference Finals. After that, the top two teams go head-to-head in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Playoff Game Location Framework
The team that placed the highest in the regular-season is given the home-ice advantage in the first two rounds.
Each best-of-seven series is played in a 2-2-1-1-1 location format. The team with the home-ice advantage hosts the first, second, fifth, and seventh games, while their opponent hosts the other three games. In some cases, there are only four games if one team goes 4-0.
The team with the better regular-season record, also gets the home-ice advantage for the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, regardless of their respective division.
Wildcards & Byes
Each conference sends eight teams into the postseason, with the top three from each division qualifying automatically. The wildcard teams fill the four remaining spots. Each conference will also send two teams based on regular-season total points.
One division can potentially send five teams to the playoffs, while the other in the conference only sends three. In the first round of games, the top seed in each division plays one of the wildcards.
Since the 2019-20 season was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has confirmed a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since teams had not all played the same number of games when the season paused, the format had to be altered for fairness.
The top 24 teams based on points percentage are divided into twelve seeds for each conference. The top four teams in each conference receive bytes from the ‘Qualifying Round.’ Once only sixteen teams remain, the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
NHL Team Performance
It’s more fun to watch and bet on hockey when you know about team legacies and performance. In this section, we’ll break down the history of the two Florida NHL franchises and what other teams have been delivering top performance this past season.
Florida Team Legacy and Past Performance
The Florida Panthers have made only one appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, but they lost to the Colorado Avalanche. Since this 1996 tournament, the Panthers have only qualified four times for the playoffs.
The team that’s brought the Cup home is the Lightning. In the 2003-04 season, Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup Finals against the Calgary Flames. The Finals consisted of all seven games. The team kept up the energy, even during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, and made it back to the playoffs in 2006.
In the past decade, the Tampa Bay Lightning has consistently contended for the championships. They clinched their first-ever President’s Trophy in 2018-19 along with a division title. The team finished that regular season with a total of 62 wins, tying for an NHL record.
Best Teams in NHL and Past Performance
The Montreal Canadiens are often considered the best NHL team in history. The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times. While their record is undoubtedly impressive, the team has had a long time to rack up those numbers. The franchise is the oldest in the league. Founded in 1909, the organization has been around longer than the NHL.
The hottest teams in the NHL right now are the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues, and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Golden Knights are picked as the season favorites, with the numbers hinting that they’re the biggest threat going into the playoffs.
Another contender is St. Louis. The Blues hold the Central division lead and have played some great hockey recently. The Philadelphia Flyers are another fierce team, looking to come out on top of the Metro division.
Notable Team Rivalries in NHL
|Classic NHL Rivalries|
Colorado Avalanche & Detroit Red Wings
New York Islanders & New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers & Pittsburgh Penguins
Boston Bruins & Montreal Canadians
Florida Panthers & Tampa Bay Lightning
Any hockey fan will tell you that one of the best things about this sport is a good, hot rivalry. Of all of the professional sports around, the best drama happens on the ice.
The NHL has some of the most ruthless competition, which has led to aggressive kerfuffles in mid-game and rowdy fan gangs in the stands. Let’s go over some of the beef that still doesn’t seem to be simmering down.
The Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche is one of the bloodiest NHL rivalries. The feud started in the 1996 Western Conference Finals when Colorado’s Claude Lemieux checked Detroit’s Kris Draper and smashed his face in the glass.
From then on, the grudge got stronger. The 1997 “Brawl of Hockey Town” involved every player on the ice from both of these teams.
Since this memorable Wednesday game, the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry still lingers. There have been hundreds of fights between the teams, and the competition is always close when they play each other.
Another notable NHL rivalry is the ‘Battle of New York,’ which started in 1972 when the New York Islanders joined the NHL. The Rangers, part of the league’s Original Six, had been the Big Apple’s team for a long time and weren’t happy with the competition.
The Islanders and the Rangers have faced off several times in the postseason. The fans keep the rivalry up. There are a variety of chants and chirps throughout the stadium during their games. The animosity is understandable, considering the teams are located so close together.
The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins is another in-state rivalry. The two teams take the ‘Battle of Pennsylvania’ pretty seriously. Both of the teams joined the league in 1967, and the feud started on the spot.
One of the oldest rivalries in hockey is the one between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. The tension between the two started in 1924 when the teams first met.
The Bruins and the Canadiens have met in more games than any other NHL teams. These matchups have often fallen prey to brawls, fan fights, and even coach thefts.
The Panthers and the Lightning also have an in-state rivalry. The teams have had 89 fights against each other in just two decades.
Notable NHL Players in Florida
Even though the state is known for warm weather and golf courses, Florida has contributed a lot to the sport of ice hockey.
There are plenty of players in the NHL that were born in Florida. You may be familiar with some of them, such as Shayne Gotisbehere, Dan Hinote, Jakob Chychrun, Garnet Hathaway, Quinten Hughes, Ryan Carpenter, Jack Hughes, and Jayson Megna.
There are only seven Florida Panthers that have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ed Belfor, Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli, Igor Larionov, Roger Neilson, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Bill Torrey have all earned this recognition for their performance with the NHL’s southernmost team.
Today, the Panthers are loaded with young talent. One future Hall of Fame goaltender is Roberto Luongo. He has managed to keep the balance and maintain the energy in a lot of important matches.
Jonathan Huberdeau is another Panther that brings a lot of heat to the rink. Huberdeau is one of Florida’s top forwards. He has shown consistency throughout the seasons, breaking his career-high last season with 92 total points scored. Huberdeau and Alexsander Barkov also have proved to be an energetic defensive duo.
The Tampa Bay Lightning is home to many All-Stars and Hall of Famers. Dave Andreychuck, Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Recchi, Davis Savard, and Martin Louis are some alums that have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.