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The NHL playoffs are among the most exciting spectacles in sports, and they lead to the biggest showdown in hockey: the NHL Stanley Cup Final. The coolest trophy in sports is up for grabs, and the last team standing will hoist it and skate into the history books. Real hockey fans know they can’t afford to miss a game — but how can you catch all the action if you don’t have cable? Fear not, cord-cutting hockey fans, because we’re here with solutions. Below, we’ll lay out everything you need to know about how to watch the Stanley Cup Final online, with no cable required. We’ll also cover how to watch at least some of the games using over-the-air TV, which means you can watch the Stanley Cup Final free! Here’s how to watch or stream the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream the Stanley Cup Final:
If you’re going to watch NFL playoff games without cable, you’ll first need to know when they’re happening and what channel they’re on. The 2021 Stanley Cup Final will be in July, which is about a month later than usual because the NHL is still catching up after Covid-19 interrupted the 2019-2020 season. (Last year’s Stanley Cup Final was held in a bubble in September.) This year, the playoffs will look more like you’d expect, including the usual 16 teams instead of the expanded 24-team field of 2020.
But not everything is the same as it was in the Before Times. This season is both shorter and more compressed, and the divisions were altered for a year to decrease travel. The Canadian teams are in a single division, because the Canadian government does not want people traveling across the border unless absolutely necessary. The Canadian teams will play one another in the first two rounds, but, as of this writing, we don’t know whether those games will be played in Canada or relocating to the U.S. for some or all of the playoffs.
There are a lot of unknowns, but we know this much: The Stanley Cup Final games will air on NBC and NBCSN. That means you’ll have to find a way to watch those two channels if you’re going to watch the Stanley Cup Final without cable.
You’ll need to find a way to watch NBC and NBCSN without cable to enjoy the Stanley Cup Final as a cord-cutter. Luckily, it isn’t too tough.
Your first option is a live TV streaming service, or “skinny bundle,” which is a cable-like multichannel service. Skinny bundles tend to be both slimmer (hence the “skinny bundle” moniker) and cheaper than bulky cable bundles. Happily for hockey fans, many skinny bundles offer NBC and NBCSN.
There’s another way to watch one of these channels: free over-the-air TV. We’ll cover that once we’re through with skinny bundles.
Stream the Stanley Cup Final for free with DIRECTV Stream
DIRECTV Stream is the new name for the service previously called AT&T TV. It's like how the Dallas Stars used to be the Minnesota North Stars (minus a move to Dallas, since AT&T is already based in the Dallas area). Naming quirks aside, you can catch every game of the Stanley Cup Final with this service because it includes a livestream of NBCSN in all markets and NBC in most markets. Our DIRECTV Stream review can tell you more.
Stream the Stanley Cup Final for free with Hulu
Hulu’s live TV streaming service is an awesome way to watch the Stanley Cup Final without cable. Hulu + Live TV offers all of Hulu’s on-demand content, as well as a ton of livestreaming network television channels, including both NBC and NBCSN.
Stream the Stanley Cup Final for free with fuboTV
fuboTV bills itself as a great choice for sports fans, and we couldn’t help but agree in our most recent fuboTV review. Rest assured that fuboTV will deliver the goods during the Stanley Cup Final: The streaming service offers both NBC and NBCSN, which means you’ll have a Stanley Cup Final livestream every single game day.
Stream the Stanley Cup Final with Sling TV
The customizable and affordable Sling TV is one of our favorite live TV streaming services. It has a lot to offer, including a livestream of NBCSN. Sling TV did not offer NBC during last year’s playoffs, but now it does, with a very large caveat: Only a handful of markets can get NBC on Sling TV. If you’re in one of those areas, you won’t need to worry about hooking up an antenna to watch Stanley Cup action on NBC.
If you want to watch the Stanley Cup Final online with no cable required, then you may want to check out YouTube TV. Google’s version of the skinny bundle is slim in all the right places, but it still includes a livestream of both NBC and NBCSN. That’s all you'll need to stream the Stanley Cup Final.
All you’ll need to watch NBC broadcasts of the Stanley Cup Final for free is an antenna. If you don’t have an antenna, don’t sweat it — we have you covered with our explanation of over-the-air broadcasts and our guide to choosing the right OTA antenna. Unfortunately, this is only an option for NBC, so you’ll need to figure out another way to watch the games that air on NBCSN.
We’ve provided a lot of ways to watch the Stanley Cup Final online and over the air, but can you use these methods on your favorite streaming platform or device? The short answer is yes! The longer answer is in the chart below.
This is the final year the Stanley Cup Final will air on NBC networks. Starting with the 2022 season, NHL games will be divided between ESPN networks and Turner Sports. The two will also split the rights to the Stanley Cup Final for the next seven years: ABC will get the rights to four Stanley Cup Finals and TNT will air the other three. We think at least part of every Stanley Cup Final should be on broadcast TV, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t ask for opinions from the CordCutting.com staff.
Now is a great time to start thinking about how you’ll watch the Stanley Cup Final beyond 2021. Our How to Watch ABC Without Cable article is a good starting point, and our How to Watch TNT Without Cable guide is another good resource.
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