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NHL releases schedule for qualifying round

Jared Silber / National Hockey League / Getty

The NHL released its schedule for the qualifying-round matchups in the 24-team playoff following the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play protocols.

The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers will kick things off in Toronto on Aug. 1, while the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers will open play in Edmonton.

The times of each game haven't been officially set, but the league is reportedly planning to begin contests in each hub city at noon, 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. local time.

The winners of each best-of-five series will fill out seeds Nos. 5-8 in each conference to set up the traditional 16-team playoff bracket. The East's Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, and Washington Capitals, as well as the West's Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Dallas Stars, will compete in separate round-robin tournaments to determine the top four seeds in each conference.

The qualifying round is scheduled to be completed in 10 days, with the 16-team postseason slated to begin Aug. 11. The second phase of the draft lottery is scheduled one day prior on Aug. 10. One of the losing clubs in the qualifying round will earn the draft's top selection after a placeholder team won the first phase of the lottery in June.

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