NHL Playoff Bracket 2020: Dates, TV Schedule and Stanley Cup Standings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Each of the eight teams left in the Stanley Cup Playoff have picked up at least one win in the second round. 

Colorado was the last of the group to do so Wednesday when it won a high-scoring affair with Dallas. 

Dallas still has the advantage in the Western Conference series. Tampa Bay also owns a 2-1 lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference. 

Philadelphia and the New York Islanders opened with a split, as did Vegas and Vancouver, which means every series will go at least five games in the Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, hubs. 

Three of the four series will pick up Saturday, with the Lightning and Bruins opening a three-game slate. 


Playoff Standings

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay leads Boston, 2-1.

Philadelphia tied with New York Islanders, 1-1.


Western Conference

Dallas leads Colorado, 2-1.

Vegas tied with Vancouver, 1-1. 


Upcoming Schedule

Frank Seravalli @frank_seravalli

Updated #NHL #StanleyCup schedule: https://t.co/LQnnOWFsJi


Tampa Bay Continuing Dominance Against Boston

Tampa Bay may have finished beneath Boston in the regular-season standings, but it controlled its head-to-head matchups. 

The Lightning won three of four regular-season meetings and beat the Bruins by a goal in the Eastern Conference seeding games. 

After suffering a setback in Game 1, the Lightning used back-to-back wins to take firm control of their series with Boston. 

Tampa Bay was by far the most dominant team in the last set of games, as it put seven past Jaroslav Halak and Daniel Vladar.

Six Lightning skaters recorded multiple points in Game 3, with Nikita Kucherov leading the club with four off one goal and three assists. 

Additionally, the Tampa Bay defense limited the Boston attack to 24 shots. If the Lightning ratchet up their defense pressure in Game 4 and beyond, they could be the first team to clinch a conference final berth. 

Boston has not held the lead in a game since the middle of the third period in Game 2. If it can strike with a first-period goal, like it had in Games 1 and 2, it may be able to stop Tampa Bay's momentum for a bit. 

At the moment, it is hard to predict Boston will get past Tampa Bay since the Lightning have had an answer for most of Boston's success after Game 1. 


Colorado's Rally Puts It Back In Series

To challenge Dallas, Colorado had to break the hold the Stars defense had on the series and get more production beneath its top line. 

In Game 3, Nathan MacKinnon only played a role in two of the team's six goals, and did not pick up a goal or assist until the third tally of the contest. 

Prior to Wednesday, MacKinnon had five points on his side's five goals in Games 1 and 2. 

The Avalanche had six different players find the back of the net, and seven skaters chipped in at least one assist. Cale Makar led the team with three helpers. 

Colorado still has to fix its defensive problems, as it has let in 14 goals over three games with Philipp Grubauer out injured. 

Pavel Francouz owns a .880 save percentage in the series, which is a bit worse than the .902 save percentage produced by Dallas' Anton Khudobin. 

Khudobin could be the key to swinging the series back in Dallas' favor since he allowed five goals in Games 1 and 2. 

However, if Colorado extends its high level of production into Game 4, it could force the series to go the distance and continue to be the highest-scoring matchup of the four conference semifinals. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference