As the Eastern and Western Conference quarterfinal series approach conclusion, here is what happens next in the NHL's new playoff structure.

The four surviving teams in each conference will be seeded according to regular-season points. The only exceptions are the regular-season division champions. If they advance, they will continue as the top two seeds in each conference.

If one or both of each conference's division champs are eliminated, then the team with the next-highest point total moves up.

If the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, they will play the New York Rangers, the Atlantic Division champs and No. 1 Eastern Conference seed, who eliminated the eighth-seeded New York Islanders yesterday.

The same criteria are used in the conference finals.

Home ice for the Stanley Cup finals will be determined by the highest number of regular-season points.

If two teams are tied in points, tiebreakers will be: 1. most victories; 2. most points in games against each other; 3. greater goal differential during the regular season.

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