The 2022 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs began on May 2, and the finals are underway.
Cord-cutting hockey fans have a number of decent options to stream games live as 16 teams take to the ice. The four channels broadcasting games during the NHL Playoffs this year are ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS.
During the Conference Finals, some games will air on ABC. Those games will be simulcast on ESPN+.
This guide breaks down everything you need to know about watching NHL playoffs without a cable TV subscription.
Table of Contents
- Cheapest way to watch NHL Playoffs without cable
- What’s different this year?
- Can I watch NHL Playoffs for free?
- Are the NHL playoffs on ESPN+?
- Can I watch NHL playoffs on Amazon Prime?
- What’s the best way to watch the NHL playoffs without cable?
Cheapest way to watch NHL Playoffs without cable
Your cheapest path to streaming NHL playoffs games live is through Sling TV. Sling’s Orange plan has ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS.
Sling TV costs $35 per month. New and returning subscribers who sign up for Sling TV get 50 percent off the first month. Sling Orange has 31 channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR for recordings.
A Sling Orange plan lets you watch live TV on one screen at a time. If you prepay for 1-month of service, you can get a free Google Chromecast (a $50 value).
What’s different this year?
The first two rounds of the 2022 NHL playoffs will be on ESPN and ESPN2.
After that, there will be multiple hockey games per night. So you will see different games broadcasted on TNT and TBS.
So you have more than one option for watching your local NHL team. You don’t need to worry about regional blackouts.
You can use a cable or live TV streaming service to activate the WatchTNT app, and stream NHL playoff games as well.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV carries ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS and local ABC stations.
Subscribers get 75+ live TV channels and unlimited Cloud DVR. A subscription costs $69.99 per month and now includes Disney+ and ESPN+.
You can watch live TV on two screens at once.
Hulu’s Live TV service carries local NBC, CBS and FOX stations across the U.S. The live TV service works on most streaming devices, including Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
You can look over the channel lineup at Hulu.
DIRECTV STREAM has TBS, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2 and local channels including ABC in its Entertainment bundle. It costs $69.99 per month. Subscribers get 65+ channels, 20 hours of Cloud DVR and 40,000 on-demand shows.
DIRECTV STREAM has a free 5-day trial.
Subscribers get $15 off per month for the first two months of service. That lowers the price to $54.99 per month.
The channel lineup includes A&E, CNN, Discovery and HGTV in the Entertainment bundle. You can watch live TV on 20 screens at once.
When you sign up, you can subscribe month to month and cancel whenever you want. DIRECTV STREAM works on Smart TVs, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV devices, Apple TV and smartphones and tablets.
You can look over the different channel lineups before deciding whether to sign up.
YouTube TV has 85+ channels, including local NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX stations.
ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1 are among its notable sports channels. A subscription costs $64.99 per month. There is unlimited Cloud DVR and an on-demand movie library. Subscribers can watch live TV on three screens at once.
YouTube has apps for Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Android TV. YouTube has a free 7-day trial.
Can I watch NHL Playoffs for free?
Yes, there are two live TV streaming services that carry free trials. If you cancel before the free trial ends, then you won’t be charged for service.
DIRECTV STREAM has a 5-day free trial. The Entertainment plan ($69.99 per month) carries ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS. The Choice plan ($89.99 per month) also carries regional Bally Sports networks.
YouTube TV ($64.99 per month) has a 7-day free trial. It carries ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS as well.
During the Conference Finals, you can use a TV antenna to watch games on ABC for free.
Are the NHL playoffs on ESPN+?
The Eastern Conference Finals will air on ABC and simulcast on ESPN+. The schedule for the games are:
- 6/1 at 8 PM ET, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers, Game 1
- 6/3 at 8 PM ET, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers, Game 2
- 6/5 at 3 PM ET, NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Game 3
- 6/7 at 8 PM ET, NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Game 4
- 6/9 at 8 PM ET, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers, Game 5 (if necessary)
- 6/11 at 8 PM ET, NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Game 6 (if necessary)
- 6/14 at 8 PM ET, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers, Game 7 (if necessary)
You can sign up for an ESPN+ subscription, which costs $6.99 per month. Subscribers pay month to month with no contract. The sports-streamer is also available through the Disney+ Bundle for $13.99 per month.
Can I watch NHL playoffs on Amazon Prime?
No. Disney and Turner Sports currently have the rights to the NHL Playoffs.
What’s the best way to watch the NHL playoffs without cable?
You can also get a free Google Chromecast if you prepay for one month of Sling TV.
If you want to watch a game on a regional sports channel instead of the national broadcast, you can sign up for a 5-day free trial of DIRECTV STREAM and watch games on Bally Sports or NESN.
This guide was written on April 9, 2018 and has been updated.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble