Regular season: In the Eastern Conference, teams play 30 division games (five against two opponents and four against five opponents). Teams also play 24 games against nondivision conference opponents (three games against each team) and 28 games against nonconference opponents (two games against each team).
In the Western Conference, teams play 29 division games (five against five opponents and four against one). Teams also play 21 games against nondivision conference opponents (three games against each team) and 32 games against nonconference opponents (two games against each team).
Playoffs: Sixteen teams, eight from each conference, make the playoffs: the top three teams in each division and two wild-card teams in each conference, which will be the next two highest-placed finishers, regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
In the opening round, the division winner with the most points in the conference faces the wild-card team with the fewest points. The division winner with the second-most points in the conference plays the wild-card team with the second-fewest points. The teams finishing second and third in each division play each other.
The winners of each opening-round series play for spots in the conference championship series. The winners of the conference championships advance to the Stanley Cup final.