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Hockey is back — and the action might look a little different this year. The 2021 NHL season is well underway, with the 31 teams facing off under a slightly modified format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The teams will all play a 56-game regular season that ends May 8, followed by a playoff round based on points rather than location. What that means: for the first time in its history, the NHL final could feature two teams from the same division, rather than from opposing conferences. The Stanley Cup final is currently scheduled for July 9. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the current Stanley Cup champions and will be looking to repeat. Vegas oddsmakers have the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins as top Cup contenders as well.
As part of its Covid-19 safety protocol, all players must test negative before a game in order to take to the ice. The NHL is also limiting the number of fans who can watch the hockey games in-person. Some teams are playing without any fans in the stands at all, while other teams are hoping to seat fans in a limited capacity.
How to Watch the NHL on TV
If you aren’t able to snag a ticket to see a game in person (or if you want to stay safe and avoid the rink), there are a number of ways to watch the NHL live from home.
NBC will be airing the majority of NHL broadcast games, so if you have a decent TV antenna (like this one from Amazon) you’ll be able to use your TV to watch live hockey broadcasts on your local NBC affiliate. Some FOX regional sports networks will also be airing local games, which you may be able to pick up with just a decent digital antenna.
How to Stream NHL Games Free Online
All other games will be available on NBCSN, the NHL Network, or USA Network, and you’ll need to sign up for a cable plan for that. Prefer to cut the cord? Here’s how to stream the NHL from home without cable, from your TV, computer, tablet or phone. All of these streaming services are currently offering free trials too, so you can start streaming hockey for free online.
One of the best streaming platforms for live sports, fuboTV gets you access to NHL games on NBC, NBCSN, USA and the NHL Network, as well as ESPN and Fox Sports for post-game analysis. A monthly subscription starts at just $64.99 and includes more than 100 other channels (including AMC, Bravo, E! and Showtime) plus 500 hours of Cloud DVR Plus, to record any games or shows you want to re-watch. The best part: three screens can be logged in at once, so you can be watching hockey on one device, while your friends or family members watch live TV or stream from hundreds of hours of recorded content on their own phones or laptop.
We like fuboTV for other sports too, with access to the NFL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network, Golf Channel and more. Right now, fuboTV is offering a 7-day free trial with no commitment. Start your trial here.
2. Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the easiest live TV streamers to get into, with its Blue Package starting at just $30 a month. The Sling Blue package includes access to NBCSN and USA Network. Add on the “Sports Extra” package for an additional $10 to get the NHL Network (along with NBA TV, MLB Network, Golf Channel, Tennis Channel and more).
Sling is offering a three-day free trial for new users here. They’re also offering a new deal that gets you your first month of “Sports Extra” for free when you sign up for one of their packages. See the deal here.
3. Hulu + Live TV
You already know Hulu’s slate of popular movies and shows, but we’ve upgraded our home to the Hulu + Live TV service, which gets you NBC, NBCSN, and USA Network for hockey. A Hulu + Live TV subscription costs just $54.99 a month and includes unlimited streaming of all of Hulu’s on-demand content, as well as instant access to 60+ channels of live TV.
Your subscription includes 50 hours of Cloud DVR recording. You can also set alerts, so your TV or device notifies you whenever a game is about to start. Try Hulu + Live TV right now with this 7-day free trial.