A grouping of NHL teams that play in the easternmost cities in North America that are home to an NHL franchise. In the modern NHL, the Eastern Conference consists of three divisions containing five teams each, for a total of fifteen teams in the conference.
At the end of an NHL regular season, the eight teams in the Eastern Conference that finish the season with the highest number of points will participate in the NHL playoffs. The Eastern Conference quarterfinals and semifinals take place during the first two rounds of the playoffs, with the Eastern Conference finals taking place in the third round. The winner of the Eastern Conference finals receives the Prince of Wales Trophy and advances to the Stanley Cup finals.
The three divisions of the Eastern Conference are the Northeast Division, the Atlantic Division, and the Southeast Division. The alignment of teams in the Eastern Conference is as follows: