Best-of-seven playoff[edit | edit source]

A best-of-seven playoff is a competition between two teams where one must win four games to win the series. If a series is won before all seven games have been played, all remaining games are omitted. It is not necessary for the four games to be won consecutively. Draws are not permitted, even in sports where they usually would be; play continues until there is a winner. This ensures that a series will never require more than seven games.

The schedule is arranged so that the team with home advantage – the team that had the better regular-season record plays the first game and the decisive seventh game (if necessary) at home. Most best-of-seven series follow a "2–3–2" format or a "2–2–1–1–1" format; that is, in a 2–3–2 series, the first two games are played at the home venue of a team with the better record, the next three games (including Game 5, if necessary) are played at the home of the team with the worse record, and the final two games (if necessary) are played at the home of the team with the better record. In a "2–2–1–1–1" format, the first two games are played at the team with the better record venue, the next two at the team with the worse record, and then alternating venues for the fifth, sixth and seventh games, if necessary. An "odd-even" format is used in the postseason tournaments of the Liiga in Finland and the Swedish Hockey League.


The National Hockey League uses a best-of-seven series for all rounds of its league-championship Stanley Cup playoffs,[1] but uses the "2–2–1–1–1" format. The AHL and the ECHL do not use a set playoff format for their league championship playoff tournaments due to scheduling conflicts. For example, in the 2016 Calder Cup playoffs, due to scheduling conflicts in both arenas, the Pacific Division finals between the Ontario Reign and the San Diego Gulls used the "odd-even" playoff format, with Ontario hosting the odd games.[2]

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  1. Sample use in NHL press release Published 12 May 2010. Accessed 26 June 2010.
  2. Ontario-San Diego schedule a 'brutal' 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format (April 30, 2016).
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