Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Updated Standings, Bracket and Top Must-See Games

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2020

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) plays against the Anaheim Ducks in an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Three days remain in the NHL's qualifying round to determine the 16 teams headed to the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames have eliminated the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, respectively. The other six qualifying series remain in progress, but each one is entering a potentially decisive game Friday.

There are also two round-robin seeding games left in both conferences. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers are battling for the No. 1 seed in the East, and the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights are set to do that in the West.

As the NHL reaches the end of the qualifying period, B/R is resetting the outlook and looking ahead to key games.


Round-Robin Standings

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning: 2-0-0 (4 points)

Philadelphia Flyers: 2-0-0 (4)

Washington Capitals: 0-1-1 (1)

Boston Bruins: 0-2-0 (0)


Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche: 2-0-0 (4)

Vegas Golden Knights: 2-0-0 (4)

St. Louis Blues: 0-0-2 (0)

Dallas Stars: 0-0-2 (0)


Updated Bracket

Eastern Conference

Top four seeds: Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, Philadelphia

Also qualified: (6) Carolina

Series Updates: (12) Montreal leads (5) Pittsburgh 2-1, (7) New York Islanders leads (10) Florida 2-1, (9) Columbus leads (8) Toronto 2-1

Eliminated: (11) New York Rangers


Western Conference

Top four seeds: St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, Dallas

Also qualified: (8) Calgary

Series updates: (12) Chicago leads (5) Edmonton 2-1, (11) Arizona leads (6) Nashville 2-1, (7) Vancouver leads (10) Minnesota 2-1

Eliminated: (9) Winnipeg


Must-See Games

Colorado vs. Vegas (Saturday, Aug. 8; Time TBD)

Vegas has twice overcome two-goal deficits in its Canadian bubble, most recently upending the St. Louis Blues after falling behind 2-0 on Thursday.

In that win, Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch both scored twice for the Golden Knights. They earned a 6-4 victory thanks to a three-goal surge in the final period and consequently moved into a deadlock with the Colorado Avalanche atop the round-robin standings.

And the decisive showdown comes Saturday night in Edmonton, Alberta.

So far in the bubble, the Avalanche have toppled the Blues 2-1 and shut out the Dallas Stars 4-0. Six players have scored for Colorado, and four players have two assists. Two dominant regular-season triumphs over Vegas should make the Avs confident heading into the game.

But since Vegas has scored 11 goals in the past two games, the Avs will have their hands full.

While the losing team is guaranteed the No. 2 seed, the winner gets the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference.


Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay (Saturday, Aug. 8; Time TBD)

The prize is similar in the Eastern Conference meeting between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers have dispatched the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins 4-1 and Washington Capitals 3-1, and the Lightning defeated both teams 3-2. They will share the ice Saturday night in Toronto with the East's No. 1 seed at stake.

On Thursday, Scott Laughton notched two goals and an assist in Philly's win over Washington, and Kevin Hayes assisted on all three goals. The duo has combined to produce eight points in two games, and their contributions will be needed for the Flyers to counter Tampa Bay's league-leading offense.

At the other end of the ice, the Lightning will be hoping Vezina Trophy-nominated goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy maintains his stellar play. He's stopped 56 shots in two games, conceding two goals in each for a .933 save percentage. Tampa won both their regular-season matchups against Philadelphia with Vasilevskiy in net.

The Flyers, though, have a terrific chance to snap that mini skid at the perfect moment to stand atop the Eastern Conference.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.