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How To Watch the NHL Playoffs 2023

It’s a long, icy road to Lord Stanley’s Cup, but you can watch the complete NHL Playoffs on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT.

Editor's choice
Hulu + Live TV
NHL playoff channels:
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
Unlimited (for 9 mos.)
Free trial:
N/A
NHL playoff channels:
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
Unlimited (for 9 mos.)
Free trial:
N/A
Best value
Sling TV
NHL playoff channels:
ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
50 hrs. included
Free trial:
N/A
NHL playoff channels:
ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
50 hrs. included
Free trial:
N/A
Best cable or satellite provider
DIRECTV
NHL playoff channels:
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
200 hrs. included
Contract:
2 yrs.
NHL playoff channels:
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT
DVR storage:
200 hrs. included
Contract:
2 yrs.
Cheapest
OTA Antenna
NHL playoff channels:
ABC
Features:
All local broadcast channels
NHL playoff channels:
ABC
Features:
All local broadcast channels

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The NHL Playoffs feature some of the most exciting hockey fixtures of the year. Whether you’re a diehard fan or a casual observer, you can watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT.

Hulu + Live TV is our favorite way to tune in because it includes ESPN+ for extra NHL coverage. It’s also a great way to catch college hockey games, like the NCAA Frozen Four, right before the NHL Playoffs drop the puck.

Looking for more ways to watch the NFL Playoffs? We’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for info on every playoff channel and the NHL postseason schedule.

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Check TV providers in your area

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What channel are the NHL Playoffs on?

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT. You can also stream some simulcasts and additional studio coverage on ESPN+, while ESPN Deportes provides Spanish-language coverage of select playoff matches.

Pro tip: In Canada, viewers can watch the NHL Playoffs across CBC and Sportsnet networks. TVA Sports channels also provide coverage for those who prefer Canadian French–language commentary.

NHL Playoffs schedule

The first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on April 17. Because each best-of-seven series determines the length of each playoff stage, the Stanley Cup Finals will start in early June.

You can keep tabs on the full NHL Playoffs schedule and bracket by visiting the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs page.

Round Start date Channels
First Round Monday, April 17 ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT
Second Round Tuesday, May 2 ESPN, ESPN2, TNT
Conference Finals Thursday, May 18 ABC, ESPN, ESPN+, TNT
Stanley Cup Finals Saturday, June 3 TNT, TBS, truTV

Data effective as of post date.

Best TV plans for watching the NHL Playoffs

What’s great about the NHL Playoffs is that ABC, ESPN, and TNT nationally televise many NHL regular season games. So, if you’ve been following the current NHL season on TV, you most likely already have the channels needed to watch the playoffs.

But if you’re just now skating in for the Stanley Cup alone and need a TV provider, we recommend going with a live TV streaming service.

Hulu + Live TV makes the most sense for postseason hockey fans because it includes ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT. It also comes with ESPN+ at no extra cost—giving you exclusive NHL content and on-demand games. Unfortunately, Hulu + Live TV doesn’t come with NHL Network. That won’t impact you during the playoffs, but you’ll want it to watch more regular-season games.

Which TV providers offer NHL playoff channels?

For a closer look at every major TV provider’s hockey coverage, we’ve broken down which services offer the five NHL playoff channels below.

Provider Type Price ABC ESPN ESPN2 TBS TNT Details
Cox Cable $61.00–$146.00/mo.

Read Cox review
DIRECTV Satellite $69.99–$159.99/mo. View plans

Read DIRECTV review
DIRECTV STREAM Streaming $69.99–$159.99/mo. View plans

Read DIRECTV STREAM review
DISH Satellite $84.99–$114.99/mo. View plans

Read DISH review
fuboTV Streaming $32.99–$99.99/mo. View plans

Read fuboTV review
Hulu + Live TV Streaming $76.99–$89.99/mo. View plans

Read Hulu + Live TV review
Optimum Cable $35.00–$125.00/mo. View plans

Read Optimum review
Philo Streaming $25.00/mo. View plans

Read Philo review
Sling TV Streaming $40.00–$55.00/mo. ✔* View plans

Read Sling TV review
Spectrum Cable $64.99/mo. View plans

Read Spectrum review
Vidgo Streaming $69.99–$99.99/mo. View plans

Read Vidgo review
Xfinity Cable $20.00–$80.00/mo. View plans

Read Xfinity review
YouTube TV Streaming $72.99/mo. View plans

Read YouTube TV review

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Available only in select markets with Sling Blue. Without ABC, Sling TV subscribers can watch ESPN on ABC broadcasts via ESPN3.

Score the best TV provider for hockey

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How to watch the NHL Playoffs for free

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to watch the entire NHL Playoffs for free. With most of the playoffs airing on ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT, you’ll need a TV provider subscription to get access to those channels. We would normally recommend signing up for a free live TV streaming trial, but most trials aren’t long enough to cover the span of the full playoff schedule.

With ABC airing select playoff games in 2023, you can watch those matchups completely free through your local ABC network. However, to do this, you need to make a one-time purchase of a digital antenna.

The Mohu Leaf 50 ($47.99 on Amazon*) is one of our favorite antennas on the market because it’s 4K ready and has a 60-mile range. But, before you go this route, we recommend entering your zip code on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Reception Map Tool to ensure you have an ABC affiliate within range.

Final take

You need a TV plan that includes ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT to watch the entire 2023 NHL Playoffs. ABC and ESPN channels will air half of the games in the first two rounds and one conference final, while TBS and TNT will air the remaining games in the first two rounds and the other conference final. TNT will also air every game of the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals.

Our favorite TV service for watching the NHL Playoffs is Hulu + Live TV (starting at $69.99 a month). The live TV streaming service not only offers ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT, but also includes ESPN+ at no additional cost. ESPN+ is a major bonus for hockey fans because it has its own NHL-centric studio shows and an on-demand library of past NHL games.

How to watch the NHL Playoffs FAQ

When do the NHL Playoffs start?

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs began on April 17, with the Stanley Cup Finals starting on June 3.

Which teams make it to the NHL Playoffs?

Of the 32 NHL teams, 16 of them reach the NHL Playoffs. This includes the top three teams in each of the league’s four divisions, with the two next-best teams (based on total points) in the league’s two conferences earning wild-card spots.

Are the NHL Playoffs on ESPN+?

Yes, select games airing on ABC and ESPN during the 2023 NHL Playoffs will simultaneously stream live on ESPN+. The streaming service will also carry full-match replays of every Stanley Cup playoff game.

Are the NHL Playoffs on Peacock?

No, the 2023 NHL Playoffs are not on Peacock. While 17 playoff games aired on the streaming service in 2021, Peacock’s parent company NBCUniversal no longer owns the broadcasting rights to the NHL.

Can I watch the NHL Playoffs on Amazon Prime?

No, the NHL Playoffs are not available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the United States.

What streaming service has NHL Network?

NHL Network is available on live TV streaming services like DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, and Sling TV. While NHL Network does not air any NHL playoff games, you can watch many hours of postseason coverage through the channel.

Methodology

Our sports experts spent eight hours researching the best ways to watch the NHL Playoffs. We compared the most popular TV providers head to head, focusing on each provider’s channel offerings, pricing, and ease of use. Additional features like DVR storage space and on-demand capabilities were also taken into account.

To learn more about our methods, check out our How We Rank page.

Disclaimer

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Amazon.com price as of 4/26/23 2:00 p.m. CT. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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