Much like the entire 2021 NHL season, the Stanley Cup Finals will be different than anything seen before.
Unlike the typical battle that pits the best team in the Eastern Conference against the top team in the Western Conference, those two sides have been thrown out the window in 2021. With COVID-19 protocols restricting teams to place in divisions based on location, the playoff bracket is not the same as years past.
All four divisions (East, West, North and Central) had four teams seeded No.1-4 in the first round and faced off. The winners of those matchups face each other to determine division winners. Then, those final four teams are re-seeded with point totals from the regular season being the determining factor. From there, the two Stanley Cup Finals teams will come out.
The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning have already clinched their spots in the semifinals. Montreal awaits the winner on the Las Vegas Golden Knights-Colorado Avalanche series while Tampa Bay will take on either the New York Islanders or Boston Bruins.
Soon enough, the two teams vying for the Stanley Cup will be determined. Here's everything to know about the Stanley Cup Finals.
2021 Stanley Cup Finals How to Watch
When: The Stanley Cup Finals' latest possible date was originally July 15, but a delay to the start of the postseason could push back this date.
Stream: NBC Sports App
2021 Stanley Cup Finals Matchup
Semifinalist No.1/No.4 vs. Semifinalist No.2/No.3
2021 Stanley Cup Finals Schedule