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In 2009-10, the AHL will have 16 teams participating in the postseason.

In each division, the fourth-place team will play the first-place team in the division semifinals, while the second-place team plays the third-place team.

There is one possible exception to the qualification rules in 2009-10: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs.

(If the fifth-place team in the Atlantic produces more points than the third-place team in the East, then the team that finishes first in the East shall play the team that finishes third in the East.)

Division semifinal winners face off in the division finals. The winner of the East Division final plays the winner of the Atlantic Division final in the Eastern Conference final, while the winner of the North Division final plays the winner of the West Division final in the Western Conference final. Conference final winners meet in the Calder Cup Finals.

All series are in a best-of-seven format.

Following are the tiebreaking procedures used in the event of a tie in the standings following the completion of the regular season. When a tie among three or more teams is broken resulting in a two-team tie, the original tiebreaking method is used.

Between two teams:
a) wins
b) points in season series between teams
c) goal differential
d) goals scored in season series between teams
e) intra-conference points percentage

Among three or more teams:
a) wins
b) points percentage in combined season series
c) goal differential
d) goal differential in combined season series
e) intra-conference points percentage