Move over Sidney Crosby—there are new NHL playoffs coming up, and it’s really anyone’s game at this point. You’ve got the Las Vegas Knights having an impressive debut season, the Tampa Bay Lightning looking like potential frontrunners, and of course, the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins looming. Your guess for who’s going to win is as good as ours, but whatever happens, you want to make sure you can watch the 2018 NHL playoffs.
The best streaming services for watching the NHL playoffs
Still not sure what you think of these streaming services? Don’t worry—we planned for that. Here’s a closer look at each streaming service’s pros and cons for watching the NHL.
#1 fuboTV: The cheapest way to watch the NHL playoffs
- Low introductory price
- Strong DVR options
What we like about it: Great promotional price for your first month
Drawbacks: Price jumps to $44.99 a month after your first month
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the least expensive option
If you start your first month of your fuboTV subscription right before the NHL playoffs, you should be able to catch everything for a super cheap price. You can try out fuboTV’s 7-day free trial and see what you think.
How much will I pay to watch the NHL playoffs on fuboTV?
If you’re new to fuboTV, the first month of your subscription costs $19.99, which is significantly cheaper than any of the other options for streaming the NHL playoffs. Here’s the thing—once that month is over, the subscription fee jumps to $44.99 a month, which is more than the other streaming services.
Our advice? Take advantage of that cheap first month, watch the NHL playoffs, and cancel your subscription (unless you’re totally smitten).
Make sure to be on the ball in terms of that first month’s billing period, and you’ll get a really great deal for streaming the NHL playoffs.
Feast or famine streaming quality with fuboTV
We’ve spent dozens of hours with fuboTV at this point, and our streaming experience has been all over the place. For example, we watched the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Montreal Canadiens last week, and the streaming experience was perfectly smooth. Rewind a couple of months when the Olympics were happening, and our fuboTV stream was choppy and fuzzy.
We’re not sure fuboTV has grown out of its inconsistent phase, which is why we’d strongly recommend going with the free trial before deciding on anything.
One thing you can rely on with fuboTV—30 hours of cloud DVR storage. Sure, 30 hours can fill up pretty quick, but it’s certainly better than not having any cloud DVR at all (*cough* DIRECTV NOW *cough*). You can record all the NHL games you want—just make sure to delete them after watching, and you should have no problem getting the most out of your cloud DVR.
fuboTV device compatibility
You can watch the NHL playoffs on pretty much any streaming device out there.
#2 Hulu with Live TV: Watch the NHL playoffs and binge-watch your favorite shows
Hulu Live TV(Limited Commercials)
- The most NBC local stations
- Tons of on-demand content
What we like about it: The most local NBC coverage
Drawbacks: Pricier option
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for live TV and on-demand viewing in the same place
Hulu’s been giving us binge-friendly shows for a couple of years, and now you can watch live TV with it too. Try out Hulu with Live TV and watch the NHL playoffs for free with a 7-day trial.
A great package for watching the NHL playoffs
Hulu offers two different live TV packages: the Limited Commercials with Live TV package for $39.99 a month or the commercial-free package for $43.99 a month. The commercial-free one lets you skip commercials with on-demand content only, though, so it’s not going to help you with the NHL playoffs—just keep that in mind. It’s really a question of how much you hate those GEICO commercials when you’re trying to binge something.
Hulu Live give you every channel you need to watch the NHL playoffs online. You also get over 55 other channels with your package, including sports essentials like ESPN, FS1, and TNT.
What’s it like streaming the NHL playoffs on Hulu with Live TV?
Hulu isn’t new to the streaming game, and it shows its chops in its live TV service. Assuming you have at least 15 Mbps internet speed, your NHL action should look very smooth. Don’t worry about your on-demand content, either—that takes even less internet speed and should come through crystal clear.
Hulu Live also comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. With that, you can record the NHL playoffs and watch whenever it’s convenient. You won’t be able to fit all the NHL playoff games on there, so make sure to stay on top of your recordings and delete them when you’re done.
Hulu with Live TV device compatibility
You can watch the NHL playoffs on Hulu Live with pretty much any device.
#3 DIRECTV NOW: Watch the NHL playoffs and get tons of other channels
DIRECTV NOW(Live a Little)
- Channel variety for everyone
- Lots of on-demand options
What we like about it: Cheapest price per channel of any streaming service
Drawbacks: No cloud DVR
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who enjoy that channel-flipping life
DIRECTV NOW crams tons of channels in its packages, including everything you need to stream the NHL playoffs. You can try out DIRECTV NOW and, if you time it right, watch some of the NHL playoffs for free with a 7-day trial.
NHL playoffs and more
DIRECTV NOW offers four different channel packages, and you can go with the cheapest option to get all the channels you need to watch the NHL playoffs online. It’ll cost you $35 a month to get CNBC, NBC, NBCSN, and USA and get over 60 channels total.
You can upgrade to a more expensive package if you want, but you won’t need one to watch the NHL playoffs (thank goodness). DIRECTV NOW’s basic “Live a Little” package has most of the essentials, like local channels, AMC, ESPN, and more.
Cable-cutters should feel right at home watching the NHL playoffs on DIRECTV NOW
It feels like DIRECTV NOW had cable users in mind when they created its streaming service. As opposed to a Hulu with Live TV’s interface that’s based on a recommendations algorithm, DIRECTV NOW’s streaming service looks a lot like a conventional cable interface.
With DIRECTV NOW, you’ve got your classic-looking guide where you can see what’s on and what’s coming up. So if you’re nervous about cutting the cord and getting used to a new TV experience, DIRECTV NOW will make you feel right at home.
The biggest downside with DIRECTV NOW is the lack of cloud DVR. Plan on watching the NHL playoffs live since you won’t be able to record the games for later. Is that a bummer? Yes. Yes it is. But if you prefer watching games live anyway, maybe this won’t be a big deal for you.
DIRECTV NOW device compatibility
DIRECTV NOW does a great job making its service available across lots of different streaming devices.
#4 YouTube TV: Watch the NHL playoffs with one of the strongest streaming services
Youtube TV(Youtube TV)
- Unlimited DVR
- Strong streaming quality
What we like about it: Unlimited cloud DVR
Drawbacks: No compatibility with many streaming devices
Who it’s perfect for: Fans with an Apple TV or Chromecast
You’ve heard of YouTube—you might even be watching the most electrifying NHL goals in recent playoff history right now. Well, now YouTube has a live TV service, and you can use it to watch the NHL playoffs for free with its 7-day trial.
What am I getting with YouTube TV?
YouTube TV has only one channel package to choose from, and it includes CNBC, NBC, NBCSN, and USA. With that you’re getting over 60 channels, including everything you need to watch the NHL playoffs, for $40 a month. It’s not quite as cheap as a DIRECTV NOW or fuboTV’s first month, but YouTube TV offers a few features that might make the extra $5 a month worth it.
Will I like watching the NHL playoffs on YouTube TV?
We’ve tested all the major streaming services, and YouTube TV is definitely one of the best in terms of streaming quality. Plus, its interface is easy to navigate, so if you’re new to cutting the cord, YouTube TV would make for an easier transition.
Here’s another feature perfect for NHL fans—unlimited cloud DVR storage. You can record the entire NHL on your cloud DVR storage and never stress about deleting anything. The NHL playoffs can be stressful enough—you don’t need to worry about cloud DVR storage on top of everything else.
YouTube device compatibility
Hopefully you have Apple TV or Chromecast—those are two of the few devices compatible with YouTube TV.
#5 PlayStation Vue: The best streaming quality for watching the NHL playoffs
Playstation Vue(Access Package)
- Top-notch streaming quality
What we like about it: Best streaming quality
Drawbacks: Lowest amount of NBC coverage
Who it’s perfect for: Fans living in the right market
It’s a pretty close contest, but if we had to choose the best streaming quality out there, we’d go with PlayStation Vue. You can watch the NHL playoffs in HD for free with a 5-day trial.
Can I stream the NHL playoffs with PlayStation Vue?
Yes, you get every channel you need to watch the NHL playoffs, but the main reason PlayStation is ranked below the other options is its low NBC coverage. Basically that means if you live in a bigger city, your chances are pretty good of streaming the NHL, but your chances are slim if you live farther from a major city.
Thankfully, you can find out for sure if you get NBC access. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code in the top right corner of PlayStation Vue’s website. If you see NBC after doing that, you’re good to go.
If you do get NBC in your area, PlayStation Vue is actually one of the best options for streaming the NHL playoffs. You’ll get over 55 channels, including CNBC, NBC, NBCSN, and USA, for $44.99 a month. It’s a few bucks more than other options, but the difference is you’re getting excellent streaming quality.
What’s so great about PlayStation Vue?
If we were to rank the best online TV services in terms of streaming quality, we’d put PlayStation Vue right at the very top (with YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV taking the second and third spots). PlayStation Vue can’t magically work wonders with a poor internet connection, but it seems PlayStation Vue gets the most out of your internet speed. We tested all the streaming services with an internet speed around 50 Mbps, and PlayStation Vue just looked the most crisp.
Something else we really like about PlayStation Vue—it has an unlimited cloud DVR. You can record literally every single game that happens in the NHL playoffs and watch them whenever works for you. The catch is your content deletes after 28 days, so do your best to not be a DVR hoarder.
PlayStation Vue device compatibility
No, you don’t need a PlayStation to stream the NHL playoffs on PlayStation Vue—but you can if you want! PlayStation Vue works with pretty much every streaming device that isn’t an Xbox console (for obvious reasons).
#6 Wildcard: Antenna—Make sure you’re watching the NHL playoffs on NBC
Let’s say worst case scenario happens—you sign up for a streaming service only to discover you get every channel except NBC. There’s simply too much action happening on NBC to not have it. Well never fear because, thank goodness, antennas exist.
Antennas are the most reliable way to get your local channels. Now you’re wondering which antenna you should get. We’ve got you covered, friend. Our favorite antenna is the Mohu Releaf on Amazon. When we tested it, would found the channels came in clearly, the antenna was easy to hide behind an entertainment center, and it was made entirely from recycled materials (brownie points!).
If you want to check out other antennas, we’ve got recommendations for wherever you live.
2018 NHL Playoffs TV Schedule
(All times Eastern; * If necessary)
Lightning (A1) vs. Bruins (A2)
Game 1: April 28 at Tampa Bay, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Game 2: April 30 at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m. (NBC)
Game 3: May 2 at Boston, 7 p.m. (NBC)
Game 4: May 4 at Boston, 7 p.m. (NBC)
*Game 5: May 6 at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Game 6: May 8 at Boston, TBD
*Game 7: May 10 at Tampa Bay, TBD
Capitals (M1) vs. Penguins (M2)
Game 1: April 26 at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 2: April 29 at Washington, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Game 3: May 1 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 4: May 3 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
*Game 5: May 5 at Washington, TBD
*Game 6: May 7 at Pittsburgh, TBD
*Game 7: May 9 at Washington, TBD
Predators (C1) vs. Jets (C2)
Game 1: April 27 at Nashville, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 2: April 29 at Nashville, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 3: May 1 at Winnipeg, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
Game 4: May 3 at Winnipeg, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
*Game 5: May 5 at Nashville, TBD
*Game 6: May 7 at Winnipeg, TBD
*Game 7: May 10 at Nashville, TBD
Golden Knights (P1) vs. Sharks (P3)
Game 1: April 26 at Vegas, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 2: April 28 at Vegas, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Game 3: April 30 at San Jose, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 4: May 2 at San Jose, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
*Game 5: May 4 at Vegas, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
*Game 6: May 6 at San Jose, TBD
*Game 7: May 8 at Vegas, TBD
Don’t miss the NHL playoffs
The NHL playoffs are fast approaching, and you’ve got to be ready for it. There are so many interesting story lines with the Golden Knights making their playoff debut and Sidney Crosby chasing another Stanley Cup. It’s going to be a fun year to watch the NHL playoffs.
If you have any other questions about livestreaming the NHL playoffs, let us know in the comments. We’ve got your back.