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Updated: March 14th, 2013 11:35am
NHL's board of governors approves realignment, revised playoff format

NHL's board of governors approves realignment, revised playoff format

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The NHL's board of governors on Thursday approved realignment and a division-based format for the Stanley Cup playoffs, beginning next season.

It creates two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven-team divisions in the Western Conference, grouping teams in a way that makes more sense geographically.

The Minnesota Wild now will be in a division with Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

Realignment also ensures all 30 teams will play in the other 29 areas at least once a season for the first time since 1997-98.

The top three teams in each division will qualify for the first 12 seeds in the playoffs, with other four spots designated as wild cards.

Here's the breakdown:

Western Conference

Division A: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver.

Division B: Wild, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg.

Eastern Conference

Division C: Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto,

Division D: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.