How to Watch 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs Without Cable

The 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin on April 17, and air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, …

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The 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin on April 17, and air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS and TNT.

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 ESPNESPN2TNT and TBS.

The Conference Finals will air on ABC, ESPN and TNT. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about watching NHL playoffs without a cable TV subscription.

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 $40 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. 

Sling TV and other live TV streaming services work on a number of Smart TVs. Streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast with Google TV are supported. 

You can watch on iPhones and iPads with current iOS software. Gamers can use their Xbox or PlayStation game consoles with most of these services. 

What’s different this year?

This is the second of a seven-year deal between ESPN and Turner Sports to broadcast the NHL playoffs. In the past, hockey fans needed NBC, NBCSN, CNBCUSA, and NHL Network.

The first round of games for the 2023 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 ESPN, ESPN2 and TNT.

Regional sports channels such as NESNMSG Network and Bally Sports will carry games just like during the regular season. But those games will also be shown as a national telecast.

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 usually costs $74.99 per month, but new customers can get $10 off for three months of service.

No contracts or obligations are required. Subscribers get more than 75 channels, unlimited Cloud DVR storage and 40,000 on-demand shows.

DIRECTV STREAM has a free 5-day trial.

The channel lineup includes A&E, CNN, Discovery and HGTV in the Entertainment bundle. You can watch live TV on unlimited screens within your home.

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

YouTube TV has 128 channels, including local NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX stations.

ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1 are among its notable sports channels. A subscription costs $72.99 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.


fubo (formerly fuboTV) has about 152 channels in the Pro plan.

The Pro plan has ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC in its channel lineup. fubo currently doesn’t have TNT. 

The fubo Pro plan costs $74.99 per month. fubo has a regional sports fee that costs $10.99 per month. It’s $13.99 per month if you have two RSNs in your area. 

You should look over the channel lineup for your area before signing up.

You will be able to record games using 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR. Subscribers can watch live TV on 10 screens at once.

The Sports Plus add-on bundle has 30 channels, including MLB NetworkNHL Network and NBA TV. The Sports Plus add-on costs $10.99 per month.

fubo has apps for pretty much every device, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick. Google TV and Android TV Smart TVs have fubo apps. 

fubo has a 7-day free trial. Subscriptions run month to month. There are no contracts or long-term obligations.

Sling TV

Sling TV has ESPN and TNT in the Orange plan. But Sling Blue has local ABC, NBC and FOX stations in select markets.

A subscription to costs $40 per month.

Sling Blue customers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco will pay $5 more per month for local channels. Those five markets also have local NBC and FOX stations. 

You can combine the Sling Orange and Blue plan for $55 per month. Sling TV offers 50 hours of free Cloud DVR to all subscribers. All Sling Blue subscribers can watch live TV on three screens at once.

Sling TV works on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV (4th generation).

When you sign up for Sling TV, there are no contracts, or extra fees like cable TV. 

If you prepay for a brief subscription, you can get a free streaming device.  

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 carries ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS. The Choice plan carries regional Bally Sports networks.

YouTube TV ($72.99 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+?

Yes. A selection of games airing on ABC and ESPN from the 2023 NHL Playoffs will be simulcast live on ESPN+. The streaming service will have full-match replays of every game. 

You can sign up for an ESPN+ subscription, which costs $9.99 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?

Sling TV is the cheapest option. The Sling Orange plan costs $40 per month. New and returning customers can sign up for Sling Orange and get 50 percent off their first month of service.

DIRECTV STREAM has a 5-day free trial, and new customers can get three months of service for $64.99 per month. The Entertainment package has all the channels you need for the NHL Playoffs and the Stanley Cup finals.

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

This guide was written on April 9, 2018 and has been updated.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

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