NHL 2021 opening evening: Schedule, how you can watch and stream hockey with out cable

How to watch and stream the 2021 NHL hockey season without cable

Heads up, hockey followers! The puck drops on the 2021-2022 NHL season beginning Tuesday, and we can not wait. As Mario Lemieux famously stated, “Daily is a superb day for hockey,” and that positively applies to tonight’s season-opening doubleheader. Within the first sport, at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT), the Tampa Bay Lightning elevate their Stanley Cup championship banner earlier than going through the Pittsburgh Penguins. Within the second sport the NHL’s latest workforce, the Seattle Kraken, go to the Vegas Golden Knights at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT). Each video games are on ESPN and streaming on ESPN Plus.

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning rejoice successful the 2021 Stanley Cup. The Lighting are going for a three-peat because the puck drops on the 2021-2022 NHL common season. 


Scott Audette/NHLI through Getty Pictures

A number of modifications are coming this season on the ice. The Kraken characteristic a set of gamers snatched away from their former groups throughout this summer season’s growth draft. They be part of the Western Convention because the NHL returns to its prepandemic alignment of two Western Convention divisions (the Pacific and the Central) together with two Japanese Convention divisions (the Metropolitan and the Atlantic). Groups will play a full 82-game season and the highest three groups from every division make the playoffs, whereas the remaining duke it out for 2 wild-card spots per convention. 

Find out how to watch the video games at residence can be altering. Disney (ABC, ESPN and Hulu) and Turner Sports activities (TNT, TBS) will share protection of the NHL starting this season, and video games will now not seem on NBC networks. 

TNT will broadcast 50 NHL video games, together with the out of doors Winter Traditional, Stadium Sequence and Heritage Traditional. They will even air half of the Stanley Cup playoffs. ESPN or ABC will air 25 video games together with half of the playoffs and the entire Stanley Cup Finals, whereas ESPN Plus and Hulu will stream 75 unique matchups. The NHL’s out-of-market streaming service, previously generally known as NHL.TV, strikes to ESPN Plus for no additional cost.

So what does all this imply for hockey followers desperately seeking to stream their workforce’s video games? The excellent news is that you do not want cable to observe hockey this yr, however it nonetheless is likely to be the simplest and least expensive selection relying on the place you reside.

Learn extra: NFL 2021: Find out how to watch and stream soccer, RedZone this season with out cable

Reside TV streaming providers vs. cable

Die-hard sports activities followers are beholden to regional sports activities networks, or RSNs, that carry nearly all of the video games for his or her native workforce. These RSNs are normally included in native cable packages, so most cable subscribers by no means have to fret about having access to the broadcasts on these channels: They’ll merely activate the TV and watch the sport. 

Wire-cutting hockey followers have a harder path. Due to rights agreements, most reside TV streaming providers like YouTube TV or Hulu with Reside TV do not carry many RSNs. DirecTV Stream is the exception. It has practically each RSN, significantly the Bally Sports activities channels (previously Fox Sports activities) provided by Sinclair, however you will must spring for its $85-a-month plan. 

Learn extra: DirecTV Stream assessment: Costly, however the best choice for streaming NBA and NHL

These seeking to simply get ESPN Plus to observe their native workforce’s video games will even be out of luck. RSNs have broadcast exclusivity within the area that they cowl, which means that the one method to watch the Flyers in Philadelphia, for instance, is to get a service that has the native RSN, specifically NBC Sports activities Philadelphia. 

Companies like ESPN Plus use IP addresses to dam out video games in viewers’ areas — you will simply get a black display saying that the sport is blacked out in case you’re attempting to observe, for instance, a Rangers sport in New York that’s airing on MSG. ESPN Plus is good for individuals who wish to observe a number of of the groups based mostly in cities apart from their very own, aka out-of-market groups, however for native followers it is not as helpful. 

Finally, relying on location, getting a cable subscription that features ESPN, TNT and the native RSN(s) would possibly truly be cheaper and simpler than streaming — particularly if it is bundled with the house web you will possible be getting anyway. 

Whether or not or not you’ve cable, ESPN’s standalone streaming service is nice for informal followers and is a must have accent for the zealots. It prices $7 a month or $70 a yr and reveals all out-of-market video games together with as much as 75 unique ESPN-produced telecasts per yr. The catch is that your native workforce’s video games are blacked out once they seem on ESPN Plus. Nonetheless, this can be a enormous financial savings for long-time NHL.TV customers, because the all-access bundle used to value subscribers $145 a yr. 

Even higher for hockey followers, ESPN Plus simply reached a deal to point out 130 Kontinental Hockey League video games — Russia’s high hockey league — together with the playoffs and the Gagarin Cup finals. That is on high of ESPN’s NCAA faculty hockey protection. That is a variety of hockey for somewhat greater than half the value of the outdated NHL.TV bundle. 

After all, Disney can be planning to point out unique video games on Hulu, so the $13.99 a month Disney bundle would possibly find yourself being a fair higher purchase for hockey followers who additionally love TV and Disney/Marvel/Star Wars content material. 

DirecTV Stream: Greatest for followers of the native workforce at $85

For these decided to observe their native hockey workforce with no cable or satellite tv for pc TV subscription, a reside TV streaming service is the perfect wager. Whereas it’s expensive, DirecTV Stream is the best choice for most individuals, significantly these the place the native video games air on Bally Sports activities networks. 

Beneath is a chart of the entire NHL groups in the US and their corresponding RSNs. 

Word: Not one of the (US-based) providers carry the RSNs for the Canadian hockey groups. Which means followers of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks want to make use of ESPN Plus to observe all of the video games that aren’t both in your native RSN or on a US nationwide broadcast.

RSN availability by U.S. workforce and streaming service

Staff Community Identify DirecTV Stream FuboTV YouTube TV Hulu Plus Reside TV Sling Blue
Anaheim Geese Bally Sports activities SoCal Sure No No No No
Arizona Coyotes Bally Sports activities Arizona Sure No No No No
Boston Bruins NESN Sure Sure No No No
Buffalo Sabres MSG Sure Sure No No No
Carolina Hurricanes Bally Sports activities South Sure No No No No
Chicago Blackhawks NBC Sports activities Chicago Sure Sure Sure Sure No
Colorado Avalanche Altitude Sure No No No No
Columbus Blue Jackets Bally Sports activities Ohio Sure No No No No
Dallas Stars Bally Sports activities Southwest Sure No No No No
Detroit Pink Wings Bally Sports activities Detroit Sure No No No No
Florida Panthers Bally Sports activities Florida Sure No No No No
Los Angeles Kings Bally Sports activities West Sure No No No No
Minnesota Wild Bally Sports activities North Sure No No No No
Nashville Predators Bally Sports activities South Sure No No No No
New Jersey Devils MSG Plus Sure Sure No No No
New York Islanders MSG Plus Sure Sure No No No
New York Rangers MSG Sure Sure No No No
Philadelphia Flyers NBC Sports activities Philadelphia No Sure Sure Sure No
Pittsburgh Penguins AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Sure Sure No No No
San Jose Sharks NBC Sports activities California Sure Sure Sure Sure No
Seattle Kraken Root Sports activities Northwest Sure Sure No No No
St. Louis Blues Bally Sports activities Midwest Sure No No No No
Tampa Bay Lightning Bally Sports activities Solar Sure No No No No
Vegas Golden Knights AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain Sure Sure No No No
Washington Capitals NBC Sports activities Washington Sure Sure Sure Sure No

Some key takeaways:

  • The RSNs above are sometimes solely accessible to native subscribers. Consult with the person service’s particulars beneath to seek out out in case you reside in a spot the place you’ll be able to obtain a selected RSN. 
  • DirecTV Stream’s $85-a-month Alternative bundle contains the entire RSNs for hockey except for NBC Sports activities Philadelphia. Flyers followers hoping to catch a glimpse of Gritty must look elsewhere.
  • They may leap over to FuboTV, Hulu Plus Reside TV or YouTube TV which all carry NBC Sports activities Philadelphia, however followers of different groups will principally be out of luck. FuboTV solely affords 12 RSNs for hockey, whereas Hulu Plus Reside TV and YouTube TV solely have 4. Sling TV does not provide a single RSN.

One different observe: If you happen to do not acknowledge the title of a few of these channels, don’t fret. As talked about, the Fox Sports activities RSNs have been rebranded as Bally Sports activities, as a result of the channels are now not owned by Fox however Sinclair, which has since partnered with on line casino group Bally’s to rename them. 

NHL Community: it is nonetheless round, however prices additional and also you most likely do not want it

The NHL Community, run by the league, remains to be accessible as a standalone station. This season the community will air 90 video games that might be thought of nationwide for these out-of-market. Which means you’ll nonetheless have the ability to watch your native workforce play in your RSN, however viewers across the nation will want the NHL Community so as to watch the sport as it is going to be blacked out on ESPN Plus. Followers would possibly have the ability to avoid wasting cash if they’re prepared to overlook out on the handful of video games on the NHL Community. 

The NHL Community shouldn’t be included in lots of fundamental streaming providers or cable packages and isn’t accessible in any respect on Hulu Plus Reside TV and YouTube TV. If you’d like it, chances are high you’ll pay additional for it. 

Many cable and streaming providers group NHL Community right into a multi-network “sports activities bundle.” For instance, Sling’s Sports activities Additional bundle prices $11 per thirty days on high of a Sling Orange bundle and contains the NHL Community together with 13 different sports activities channels like NFL RedZone. 

FuboTV contains the NHL Community in its $7.99 per thirty days Fubo Additional bundle. This may be bought alongside any of Fubo’s subscription choices, although Fubo Additional is included within the $79.99 a month Elite streaming tier. 

Lastly, Direct TV Stream customers can solely get the NHL Community in the event that they subscribe to the $94.99 per thirty days Final or the $139.99 a month Premier bundle. 

DirecTV Stream is pricey. It’s the priciest of the 5 main reside TV streaming providers, however it’s additionally the one with probably the most RSNs. Its least expensive, $70-a-month Plus bundle contains ESPN, ABC, TNT, and TBS. You may want to maneuver as much as the $85-a-month Alternative plan to get any accessible RSN. You should use its channel lookup device to see which native channels and RSNs can be found in your space. The NHL Community is out there beginning on the $95-a-month Final bundle. 

Greatest choices for nationally broadcast video games

Other than DirecTV Stream, the chances are lengthy {that a} reside TV streaming service carries the RSN on your native workforce’s video games, which makes the opposite 4 providers higher bets for watching nationally televised video games. 

FuboTV prices $65 per thirty days and affords 12 RSNs for hockey. It additionally contains ESPN, however not TBS — which is likely to be an issue for some hockey followers. However you’ll be able to add the NHL Community for an additional $7 a month with the Fubo Additional Bundle or pay for the $79.99 a month Elite streaming tier which incorporates Fubo Additional. Take a look at which native networks and RSNs it affords right here.

YouTube TV prices $65 a month and affords 4 RSNs for hockey, together with the entire nationwide broadcasts. Nevertheless, it lacks the power to get the NHL Community. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome web page to see which native networks and RSNs can be found in your space.

Hulu Plus Reside TV prices $65 a month and carries 4 RSNs for hockey together with ESPN, ABC,TBS, TNT, however not NHL Community. Click on the “View all channels in your space” hyperlink on the backside of its welcome web page to see which native networks and RSNs can be found the place you reside.

Sling Blue at the moment lacks a single RSN to observe hockey. You’ll be able to, nevertheless, use Sling to observe some nationwide broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange plan contains ESPN, and each plans provide TBS, however none of them provide you with entry to ABC. The NHL Community is out there as a part of the Sports activities Additional add-on, which prices $11 a month for both the Blue or Orange plan or $15 for the mixed Orange-and-Blue plan. The person plans value $35 a month every, and the Orange-and-Blue plan prices $50 a month. You’ll be able to see which native channels you get right here.

Every reside TV streaming service affords a free trial, means that you can cancel anytime and requires a strong web connection. On the lookout for extra data? Take a look at our reside TV streaming providers information.

However what if I reside in hockey-obsessed Canada?

Oh Canadians, we all know you’re keen on hockey and so does the NHL. Which means that you’re unable to take part within the league’s new cope with ESPN Plus. As a substitute, you’ll have to proceed to pay extra for a subscription to NHL Reside for your whole out-of-market video games. The service is providing an early chook pricing of $179.99, however anticipate that value to leap an extra $20 as soon as the season begins. 

NHL Reside has a nifty device that may assist you determine precisely what video games can be found in your area together with your subscription. 

Wire-cutters in Canada may also want Sportsnet NOW at $14.99 per thirty days and TSN Direct at $19.99 per thirty days to get their native video games. 

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