As teams typically prepare to close out their regular season, where you land in seeding plays a huge factor in the first round of the playoffs — mainly due to home ice advantage.
After a season that ended in the most unconventional way, we fast forward to how the NHL adapted to the situation and managed to begin the Stanley Cup playoffs. With 24 teams and two bubble cities, the battle officially commenced Saturday Aug. 1.
With 12 teams in each bubble and only one rink to share, that element of home ice advantage has essentially disappeared. With no fans and a small level of comfortability within the rinks, it’s just about as even of a playing field that you can get.
Take the Leafs and Oilers — the only two teams with the opportunity to play on their own ice. While the Oilers pulled out a win Monday night, it has been the only victory for these teams in their respective bubbles.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shared his thoughts on this in an interview with NBC Sports' Liam McHugh:
Marginally, I mean obviously the home team designation gives you last change, but beyond that I think once you get on the ice and you’re playing a playoff game, you’re not focused on anything else but what’s taking place right before you in the game.
Aside from still having that last change, things are pretty evenly matched. Goal horns and songs are played for both teams and logos for each are spread throughout the numerous screens in the arena. It's just two teams with the same mission — to win the whole thing.
There's not much better than that.
Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!
Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.
More Flyers analysis for 24-team tournament
• Potential heavyweight coaching matchup for Flyers in 1st round
• Flyers celebrate return of hockey with OT drama and positives in exhibition
• So, about those Penguins ... 1st-round matchup for Flyers?
• Picture collage and signs show love for Flyers as they eye Cup run in Toronto
• Couturier's goals in NHL bubble: Stanley Cup and an important baby book item
• One of the most intriguing (and favorable?) 1st-round matchup possibilities
• Would Islanders be Flyers' kryptonite if they meet in 1st round?
• Flyers announce playoff roster, have fans going crazy over shirts
• All types of Flyers odds (including the Cup) as NHL's 24-team tourney begins
• Scott 'couldn't be happier' with Flyers, but there's more action to be done
• Trust the captain, he'll know what to do if the Flyers face the Hurricanes
• No scrimmage for Hart but Flyers' goalie provides important sight
• Analyzing Hart's situation, another Flyer becomes a dad, more
• Lindblom has new contract, his comeback is on with Flyers
• Flyers-Canadiens is perfect on paper, but would it be a trap?
• What round-robin schedule change could mean for Flyers' strategy
• What happened? Voracek says calm down, he's fine ... now you know
• Key Flyer missing, buzzing rookie, don't forget Ghost and more
• The Flyers' lineup, practicing celebrations, no hiding these two and more
• A 'dangerous card' in the Flyers' hand, Giroux still wows and more
• Fans can purchase Flyers playoff shirts with new slogan
• What it was like to go back to work at Flyers practice in different times
• Juicy opponent for Flyers' exhibition game; some start times announced
• Analyzing the Flyers' schedule to open 24-team tournament
• 5 questions on Flyers' chances in 24-team tournament
• Predictions for Flyers' best Game 1 lineup to start 24-team playoff
• Who are the Flyers' top 5 reinforcements for 24-team tournament?
• Elliott has sweet new mask for Flyers' playoff run
• Flyers sign a player to extension at position of strength
• What to know as NHL, NHLPA finish big step, announce schedule
• Things get even better for Flyers in NHL's 24-team tournament
• Finding the Flyers' best 1st-round matchup for Hart
• Flyers have two top 50 pending UFAs; will they re-sign them?
• Everything Flyers fans need to know for NHL's 24-team tournament
• Hockey insider details Flyers’ hotel
• Bettman gives Gritty the hard truth for why he can't be in Toronto bubble
• Key dates, protocols announced as Flyers set to return