For Blue Jackets fans, the NHL playoffs seem foreign. It's the post-season party, and we've never gotten the invite. But with Columbus' first playoff bid looking more probable than just possible, here's what you need to know about the race for the Lord Stanley's Cup.

For Blue Jackets fans, the NHL playoffs seem foreign. It's the post-season party, and we've never gotten the invite. But with Columbus' first playoff bid looking more probable than just possible, here's what you need to know about the race for the Lord Stanley's Cup.

Marathon men

With four rounds of best-of-seven series, the NHL playoffs are a grueling test of endurance. They begin April 15 and end as late as June 15. And this comes after more than six months of regular-season hockey.

Bracket busters

With 16 teams qualifying, NHL playoff seeds will likely befuddle March Madness fans. The top eight teams in each conference get in, with division winners getting the top three seeds and the remaining five teams seeded by record. In the second round, matchups are reshuffled so the highest-seeded team plays the lowest. Confused yet?

Shootouts shot

Regular-season shootouts may be exciting, but playoff games are decided on the ice in sudden-death five-on-five hockey. And they play until there's a winner, so be prepared to lose some sleep. The longest game on record involved 116 minutes of overtime.

Believe in the beard

The playoff beard is one of the great traditions in all of sports. Players quit shaving when their team enters the playoffs, and don't touch the razor until elimination. We can't wait to see how the young Jackets' face fuzz fills in.