ESPN Plus: $10 a month
Carries 2023 Stanley Cup playoff games live
Sling TV Orange: $40, $60 or $65
Carries ESPN, TNT and ABC (via ESPN3)
Hulu Plus Live TV: $70
Carries ABC, ESPN, and TNT
The NHL playoffs are here and the top eight teams in each conference have begun their battle for the Stanley Cup.
The Boston Bruins are the favorites heading into the postseason after collecting an NHL record 135 points en route to the Presidents’ Trophy for the best team in the regular season. They’ll hope to replicate their success against Matthew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers. The Toronto Maple Leafs have also had a strong season but have failed to win a playoff series since 2004. Their first round opponent is none other than the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that’s been to the Stanley Cup Finals for the past three consecutive seasons, winning it all in 2020 and 2021 before losing to the Colorado Avalanche last year. The Carolina Hurricanes grabbed the Metropolitan Division title on the penultimate day of the regular season and are playing the New York Islanders in their first-round matchup, while the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers are battling it out to see which from the NYC region will advance to round 2.
In the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights are back in the playoffs after missing out for the first time in their history last year. They’re playing Kyle Connor and the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. Meanwhile, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are hoping for a deep playoff run in 2023, and they’re getting their first test in a rematch of last year’s round 1 pairing with the Los Angeles Kings — a matchup that the Oilers won four games to three. The defending champion Colorado Avalanche began its quest to repeat by facing off against the Seattle Kraken, which only just completed its second year in the league. Finally, the Stars — who left Minnesota for Dallas in 1993 — face the Wild, the team that replaced them in Minnesota, for only the second time ever in the playoffs.
No team has yet to punch their ticket to the second round, but two have the opportunity to do so tonight. The Toronto Maple Leafs are up 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and can close out their first series victory in 19 years with a win at home. Game 5 takes place at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) on TBS. Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights also lead their series against the Winnipeg Jets 3-1, and can book their trip to round 2 with a win in Game 5. They play tonight at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on ESPN 2. The New Jersey Devils came back to win two consecutive games on the road against the New York Rangers to even their series at two games apiece. The teams will fight for the series advantage tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET (4.30 p.m. PT) on ESPN 2 in a game that’s sandwiched between the two potential clinchers.
While you can use an antenna, thanks to live TV streaming services cord-cutters can stream all the action with no cable subscription required. Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch or stream the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
NHL Playoffs FAQ
What is the 2023 first round playoff schedule?
Here’s the schedule for the next two days in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, including the series status. See NHL.com for the full schedule.
Thursday, April 27
- Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 5, 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) on TBS (Leafs lead 3-1)
- New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, Game 5, 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN 2 (series tied 2-2)
- Winnipeg Jets vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights, Game 5, 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on ESPN 2 (Golden Knights lead 3-1)
Friday, April 28
- Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders, Game 6, 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) on TBS (Hurricanes lead 3-2)
- Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers, Game 6, 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) on TNT (Bruins lead 3-2)
- Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild, Game 6, 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) on TBS (Stars lead 3-2)
- Colorado Avalanche vs. Seattle Kraken, Game 6, 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on TNT (Kraken lead 3-2)
What does the full bracket look like?
What channels will broadcast playoff games?
The NHL playoffs air on a collection of networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT and TBS.
The Stanley Cup Final will air on TNT in the US and on Sportsnet in Canada.
How can I stream the games on my phone?
If you have a live TV streaming service (like Sling TV, YouTube TV or one of the ones below), you can use its app. If you have cable or satellite, you can use your provider’s app or one of the following, after logging in with your cable provider’s credentials:
- For ABC games, use the ESPN app. Click the gear icon in the upper right and then select Manage TV provider.
- For TNT games, use the TNT app. Click the person icon to sign in with your TV provider.
How to watch, livestream the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
As these games all air nationally, the best way to catch all the hockey action live, without cable, is with a live TV streaming service.
ESPN Plus is the home of hockey’s out-of-market coverage and will air all Stanley Cup playoff games simultaneously with ABC and ESPN.
While the $10 a month, $100 per year service is best suited for die-hard fans of the sports it covers well — mainly hockey, soccer and UFC — more casual fans might find themselves with an ESPN Plus subscription anyway through the Disney bundle, which also includes Hulu and Disney Plus with ads for $13 total.
Sling TV’s Orange plan includes ESPN and TNT. ABC, however, is only available in eight markets (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Fresno, Houston and Raleigh) and requires the Orange and Blue combo plan if you want ESPN too. That combo plan costs $65 per month in all of those cities except Fresno, Houston and Raleigh, where it costs $60. Even if ABC isn’t available in your area, you can watch those games using the simulcast stream available on ESPN3.
Hulu Plus Live TV costs $70 a month and carries ABC, ESPN and TNT.
YouTube TV costs $73 a month and offers ABC, ESPN and TNT.
DirecTV Stream is expensive. It’s the priciest of the five major live TV streaming services. Its cheapest, $65-a-month Entertainment package includes ESPN, ABC, and TNT. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels and RSNs are available in your area.
It is worth noting that DirecTV has an additional $15 “advanced receiver service” fee that automatically applies and is added on to the sticker price, which makes the Entertainment package $80 per month.
FuboTV costs $75 a month and also includes ABC and ESPN but not TNT.
Most live TV streaming services offer a free trial or discounts during the first month and allow you to cancel anytime. All require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.