On Wednesday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the NHL’s “Return to Play” Committee is currently working toward a 24-team playoff format to finish the 2019-20 season.
This is a scenario the league has discussed for some time, but now it seems to be gaining steam.
Reportedly, the 24-team playoff would give the top-four seeds (based on points percentage at the time of the pause) in each conference a bye in the first round. In the Western Conference, those four teams would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas.
The Blackhawks are currently 12th in the Western Conference and would face the Edmonton Oilers, the fifth seed, in a “play-in” series with the winner playing the fourth-seeded Dallas Stars.
In three meetings with the Oilers this season, the Blackhawks went 2-1. In the first meeting on October 14th, the Blackhawks bested the Oilers 3-1. Seven different Blackhawks recorded a point while Corey Crawford made 27 saves.
In the final meeting on March 5th, the Blackhawks got back in the win column against the Oilers with a 4-3 victory. Adam Boqvist had two assists in the game, while Crawford surrendered three goals on just 24 shots.
In the two meetings against the Oilers with McDavid in the lineup, he recorded zero points and was a combined -4.
It is yet to be determined, but out of all scenarios the NHL has considered to finish the current season, this seems to have the most steam at the moment. A decision is likely to be made within the next few days. If the season series with the Oilers is any indication, the Blackhawks would fair well if they continued to keep McDavid from doing what he does best — score.