Who do the Bruins play next? Here’s how the NHL playoffs work this year.

Nathan Denette
The Bruins celebrate their first-round series win on Wednesday. –Nathan Denette

The Bruins beat the Hurricanes in five games to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But their next opponent is still to be determined.

Instead of a typical bracket set-up, the NHL opted for a new format in the pandemic-shortened bubble season. Each side of the bracket will be re-seeded after the culmination of the first round series, and the highest seed remaining will play the lowest seed remaining, and so forth.

So, what does that mean for the Bruins? Here’s how it shakes out.

If the top-seeded Flyers, who lead the eighth-seeded Canadiens 3-1, win, they get the lowest remaining seed.


If the sixth-seeded Islanders, who lead the third-seeded Capitals 3-1, win then they face the Flyers. That would mean the fourth-seeded Bruins would face the second-seeded Lightning.

If the Capitals rally to beat the Islanders and the Flyers beat the Canadiens, then it’s Bruins-Flyers in the second round because the Bruins would be the lowest remaining seed.

The Flyers take on the Canadiens on Wednesday in Game 5 of that series.

Game 5 of the Islanders-Capitals series is on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Bruins won’t officially know their opponent until that series finishes.

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