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'Wild' NHL playoffs move into next stage with final 16 teams

The Philadelphia Flyers earned the Eastern Conference's top seed after round robin play.
Credit: AP
Philadelphia Flyers right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (62) celebrates his goal with center Derek Grant (38) as the puck bounces in the goal behind Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) watches during the first period of an NHL hockey playoff game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO, ON — This year's NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs haven’t lost any of their luster or penchant for surprises. 

After a qualifying round full of upsets, overtime heroics and comebacks, the traditional first round that starts Tuesday with 16 teams left is primed to feature even more entertainment and unpredictability. 

The Chicago Blackhawks that ranked 23rd out of 31 teams in the regular season are still playing, along with the Montreal Canadiens, who were 24th and not given much hope of moving on. 

Chicago has a tough task against Western Conference No. 1 seed Vegas, and Carey Price’s Canadiens face the Philadelphia Flyers that earned top billing in the East. 

The Flyers will begin their series against the Canadiens on August 12 at 8:00 p.m.