The 2019-20 NHL season was one unlike anything the sport has ever seen. The league was forced to put its season on pause in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t return until August.
The league’s return-to-play plan featured a Qualifying Round in which teams on the outside of the playoff picture had a chance to qualify for the postseason. The NHL reseeded following the Qualifying Round and had the traditional eight teams in each conference battling it out for the Stanley Cup. The playoffs were entirely played in bubble hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto.
The Tampa Bay Lightning only lost four games throughout the entire postseason on their way to their second Stanley Cup title in franchise history. Tampa Bay defeated the Dallas Stars in six games with Lightning star defenseman Victor Hedman winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for Stanley Cup Finals MVP.
With the Stanley Cup Finals wrapping up in late September, hockey finally returns on Wednesday for the 2021 season with several high-profile matchups on the slate.