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If you dispute the NHL playoffs being ahead of the NFL playoffs, you have obviously never seriously paid attention to the NHL playoffs.
No team is safe in the NHL playoffs, regardless of seed. Since 2006 alone, three eighth seeded teams have bounced top ranked teams out of the tournament, including last years Montreal Canadiens (88 regular season points) knocking out the top seed Capitals and Alex Ovechkin (129 regulars season points).
They then proceeded to knock out Sidney Crosby and the fourth ranked Pittsburgh Penguins.
If you are unsure of how strong an accomplishment that is, it would be the equivalent of an eight seed team in the NBA knocking out a Magic Johnson led team followed by a Larry Bird led team in their primes.
In 2006, the five, six, seven and eight seeds all advanced to the second round trouncing the one, two, three and four seeds. That year's Conference Finals featured the No. 8 Edmonton Oilers defeat the No. 6 Mighty Ducks to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Where they took the No. 2 seed Carolina Hurricanes to seven games before bowing out.
In 2010, the Eastern Conference semifinals included the No. 4 Penguins, No. 6 Boston Bruins, No. 7 Philadelphia Flyers and the No. 8 Montreal Canadiens. The No. 7 Flyers and No. 8 Canadiens advanced, where the Flyers then beat the Canadiens to face the No. 2 Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Since 2003, four teams seeded sixth or lower in their own conferences have advanced to the Cup Finals. Although none of them have won, three of the series required all seven games and the remaining needed six.
No other pro sport has the upset expectancy of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Format: Seven-game series from First Round to Stanley Cup Finals, eight teams per conference make the playoffs.
Ideas for Improvement: Absolutely none.