HEAVY LIES THE CROWN

The Kings are dead, fail­ing to even make the play­offs a year af­ter win­ning the Cup, but one of th­ese teams in a wide-open field will be NHL’s new king

Los Angeles Times - - STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS PREVIEW - BY HE­LENE EL­LIOTT

The NHL will have a new cham­pion and the Stan­ley Cup play­offs will wel­come back some long-ab­sent teams.

The Kings be­came the first cham­pion to miss the play­offs the fol­low­ing sea­son since Carolina in 2007. They were joined on the side­lines by the Bos­ton Bru­ins — last sea­son’s top seed in the East — and the San Jose Sharks. That opened the door for the Ottawa Sen­a­tors in the East and the Cal­gary Flames and Win­nipeg Jets to make it in the West. Cal­gary ad­vanced for the first time since 2009; play­off hockey re­turned to Win­nipeg for the first time since 1996 and the first ver­sion of the Jets.

The di­vi­sion win­ner with the best record in each con­fer­ence plays the wild-card team with the fewest points, and the other di­vi­sion win­ner faces the other wild-card team. Within each di­vi­sion the sec­ond- and third-place teams face each other. The first-round win­ners within each bracket will meet to de­ter­mine the four con­fer­ence fi­nal­ists. Shown be­low, the win­ners across the top and across the bot­tom face each other in a con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal (seeds are by bracket). Those win­ners meet in the con­fer­ence fi­nal.

A look at the matchups:

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