The qualifying round of the NHL's 2020 playoffs begins Saturday

Playoff hockey kicks off


For the first time since 1986, NHL teams will begin best-of-five series today in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoffs.

The most recent best-of-five series were held beginning on April 9, 1986.

On opening night of those playoffs, the Calgary Flames faced the Winnipeg Jets. The same two teams meet in Edmonton.

Teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-five series own an all-time series record of 68-15.

The five games today to open the league's restart mark the first NHL contests to be held in August.

The day kicks off with the New York Rangers playing the Carolina Hurricanes at 9 a.m., followed by the Edmonton Oilers against the Chicago Blackhawks at noon. The Florida Panthers take on the New York Islanders at 1 p.m. before the Montreal Canadiens play the Pittsburg Penguins at 5 p.m. The first day of playoff hockey in 2020 will be capped off with the Calgary Flames against the Winnipeg Jets at 7:30 p.m.

The Vancouver Canucks' best-of-five series with the Minnesota Wild begins Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The league says it will salute social-justice activists throughout opening day. Before the Chicago Blackhawks-Oilers game in Edmonton and the Montreal-Pittsburgh game in Toronto, the NHL says it will pay tribute to 24 health-care professionals and other essential workers in virtual ceremonies.

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