The NHL playoffs has four rounds in total, featuring 16 different teams - eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference. The top three teams from each of the four divisions automatically qualify (12 in total and six per conference). The remaining four teams are referred to as ‘wild card teams’ - two wild card teams make the playoffs from each conference.
The division winner with the better record in each conference faces off against the lower-seeded wild card team in the first round. For example, if the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Atlantic Division and the Washington Capitals win the Metropolitan Division, the team with the better overall record of the two would face the second-seeded wild card team. Naturally, the division winner with the lesser overall record of the two would face the first-seeded wild card team. The second and third place finishers in each division would also face off in the first round.
Since 16 different teams make the playoffs, there are eight total playoff series in the first round, which adds up to a lot of potential betting opportunities. The winner of each series advances to the second round and the four second round winners then advance to the Conference Finals, for the chance to reach the Stanley Cup.