A Guide To The NHL

Updated: 2017 Ice Hockey

The hockey season gets underway on Wednesday as the Los AngelesKings begin their defence of the Stanley Cup and the New YorkRangers look to make a swift return to the Finals after winningtheir first Eastern Conference title in twenty years

A Guide To The NHL
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

Betting On The NHL

Betting on Ice Hockey and specifically, the NHL has increased by a huge amount over the last few years. 

When different US states lifted gambling restrictions this enabled sports bettors to place bets on the NHL. 

There are now a raft NHL betting markets and types of bet on offer including:

  • Point Spread
  • Total Goals
  • Draw No Bet
  • Winner
  • Double Chance
  • Winning Margin
  • Correct Score
  • Period Betting
  • Goalscorers
  • Asian Handicap

You can read about all sporting bet types via the comprehensive betting school article.

All the major online bookmakers offer NHL betting, a quick check on a game showed 60 betting options, we are really are spoilt for choice on the NHL betting front. 

Ice Hockey Betting

If you follow the NHL then you should be in a good position to profit from your knowledge.

The NHL League Structure

32 teams are split into two Conferences, East & West.

Within each conference, there are two Divisions.

In the Eastern Conference, we have the Atlantic and Metropolitan.

In the Western Conference, it is the Central and Pacific.

Atlantic Division - Eastern Conference

TeamState and Country
Boston BruinsBoston, Massachusetts, USA
Buffalo SabresBuffalo, New York, USA
Detroit Red WingsDetroit, Michigan, USA
Florida PanthersSunrise, Florida, USA
Montreal CanadiansMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Ottawa SenatorsOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Tampa Bay LightningTampa Bay, Florida, USA
Toronto Maple LeafsToronto, Ontario, Canada

Metropolitan Division - Eastern Conference

TeamState and Country
Carolina HurricanesRaleigh, North Carolina, USA
Columbus Blue JacketsColumbus, Ohio, USA
New Jersey DevilsNewark, New Jersey, USA
New York IslandersNew York, New York State, USA
New York RangersNew York, New York State USA
Philadelphia FlyersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Pittsburgh PenguinsPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Washington CapitalsWashington DC, USA

Central Division - Western Conference 

TeamState and Country
Chicago BlackhawksChicago, Illinois, USA
Colorado AvalancheDenver, Colorado, USA
Dallas StarsDallas, Texas, USA
Minnesota WildSt Paul, Minnesota, USA
Nashville PredatorsNashville, Tennessee, USA
St Louis BluesSt Louis, Missouri, USA
Winnipeg JetsWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Pacific Division - Western Conference

TeamState and Country
Anaheim DucksAnaheim, California, USA
Arizona CoyotesGlendale, Arizona, USA
Calgary FlamesCalgary, Alberta, Canada
Edmonton OilersEdmonton, Alberta, Canada
Los Angeles KingsLos Angeles, California, USA
San Jose SharksSan Jose, California, USA
Seattle KrakenSeattle, Washington, USA. 
Vancouver CanucksVancouver, Canada
Vegas Golden KnightsLas Vegas, Nevada, USA. 

NHL Season

The season is broken down into  four categories

  • Pre Season
  • Regular Season
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • Stanley Cup Final

The regular season takes place between October and April.

During the regular season, each team plays 41 games at home and 41 games away.

These games are a mix of multiple games against teams in their division, they also play games against teams in their conference but not their division, finally they play against teams, not in their conference.

The top 3 teams from each division go into the Playoffs. (12)

The remaining top two teams in each conference are wild cards. (4)


This leaves 16 teams for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

These teams play in Divisional SemiFinals and a Divisional Final to determine which two teams will compete in the Stanley Cup Final. 

There will be one finalist from the Western Conference and one finalist from the Eastern Conference.

Points Structure

If a team wins a game they get 2 points.

If a team loses a game in overtime or by shootout they get 1 point.

Stanley Cup Final

This is a best of seven series to determine the winner. 

Stanley Cup Champions and Finalists

YearStanley Cup WinnersFinal ScoreRunners Up
2020Tampa Bay Lightning4-2Dallas Stars
2019St Louis Blues4-3Boston Bruins
2018Washington Capitals4-1Vegas Golden Knights
2017Pittsburgh Penguins4-2Nashville Predators
2016Pittsburgh Penguins
4-2San Jose Sharks
2015Chicago Blackhawks4-2Tampa Bay Lightning
2014Los Angelas Kings4-1New York Rangers
2013Chicago Blackhawks4-2Boston Bruins
2012Los Angelas Kings4-2New Jersey Devils
2011Boston Bruins4-3Vancouver Canucks
2010Chicago Blackhawks4-2Philadelphia Flyers

Further reading is available at NHL.COM

To place a tip or bet on an NHL game please visit the Ice Hockey Tipping Pages.

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