After they held an eight-point advantage atop the Eastern Conference standings at the time of the NHL's pause, the Boston Bruins may be a tad irked that the NHL's top seeds will play in a round-robin format in an eventual return to play.
"With what the team was able to accomplish in the first 70 games, to have three (round-robin) games dictate our playoff position is disappointing," Bruins president Cam Neely said Wednesday, per NBC Boston's Joe Haggerty.
The NHL announced its plans for a 24-team playoff on Tuesday. The format allows byes for the top four teams in each conference while seeds 5-12 battle in a best-of-five play-in tournament.
However, in order to avoid the league's best teams entering the playoffs cold, they'll play a small round-robin tournament first. Each team with a bye will play its conference's other top three teams once to determine seeding when the real playoffs begin. That means the Bruins could potentially drop from the No. 1 spot to No. 4 with a poor showing after the lengthy layoff.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers are the teams Boston will need to overcome in order to stay in the top spot.
The Bruins finished the regular season with a 44-14-12 record, good for a league-leading 100 points.