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Chasing the Stanley Cup: The 2024 NHL Playoffs are Definitely Cheaper on Sling TV

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The NHL Playoffs are a go! Starting Saturday, April 20, hockey’s best duke it out for the ultimate in pro puck-slinging honors. And you can watch almost every game on Sling TV for half the price of anywhere else. Read on for details!

In a hurry? Sling Orange has ESPN, TBS, and TNT, which are the three channels the vast majority of games will be on, all for just $40.00/mo. Plus 50 hours of DVR storage, so you can record the ET game while watching the ET game (or vice versa!)

Sling TV has all the channels you need to watch 98% of the First Round 2023-24 NHL playoff games, plus the entire Finals round. A handful (less than 10) matches will be aired on ABC, which is only carried on Sling Blue in eight media markets across the country. We’ll share which markets have ABC, and what the workaround is if you don’t live in one of those markets.

For a complete schedule of the Playoffs, see our NHL Playoff Schedule guide, and for more general information on Sling TV, please take a look at our full review.

For more information on how to see for yourself if the Vegas Golden Knights can successfully defend their title, keep reading.

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

An Overview of the NHL Playoffs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs, aka the NHL Playoffs, consists of sixteen teams (at the start) competing in best-of-seven series to advance to the next round. There are four rounds in total, with each round halving the number of teams participating.

We’ll get to the rounds’ format and structure further down, but let’s look at the teams first, and their standings at the end of the NHL season.

The 2024 Playoff Picture

Each Conference — Eastern and Western — is divided into two Divisions of eight teams each: Atlantic and Metropolitan in the East and Central and Pacific in the West. The top three teams from each Division automatically enter the playoffs (six total from each Conference).

Each Conference also has two wild-card spots. Those go to the two remaining teams with the best records.

Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference regular season champions are the New York Rangers. The Rangers are also the Metropolitan Division champions. At 114 points for the season, they have the best record in the league. That makes them also the recipients of this year’s Presidents’ Trophy. The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders are the other two Metropolitan Division teams.

Patrice Bergeron, Team Captain of the Boston Bruins, the team favored to dominate the NHL Playoffs and win the Stanley Cup
Bruins Team Captain Patrice Bergeron, 2016 / cropped from original by Lisa Gansky under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

In the Atlantic Division, the Florida Panthers are the division champs by one point over the Boston Bruins and eight points over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The two wildcard teams are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals.

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Western Conference

The Western Conference regular season champs are the Dallas Stars, who are also clinched the Central Division title. The Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche (the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions) are Central’s #2 and #3, respectively.

In the Pacific Division, the Vancouver Canucks came out on top, with the Edmonton Oilers number two and the LA Kings number three.

The Western Conference wild card teams are Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights (the defending Stanley Cup winners).

No Playoffs for These NHL Teams

These teams won’t be headed to the postseason this year:

Eastern Conference

  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Calgary Flames
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Minnesota Wild
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Seattle Kraken
  • St Louis Blues

The Rounds

The NHL Playoffs are played in four rounds. Playoff matchups are determined by regular season standings.

The lower seeded wildcard team from each Conference plays the higher-ranked Division winner. The other wildcard plays the other Division winner. The 2-seeds and 3-seeds from each Division play each other (the #2 and #3 of the Atlantic division face off, and so forth).

Home-ice advantage is with the team with the better regular season record.

The NY Rangers are playing against the NJ Devils in this year's NHL Playoffs First Round
New York Rangers Adam Fox, Ryan Strome, and Brett Howden, 2019 / Cropped from original by the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

First Round

Playoff series are played, as mentioned, in best-of-seven series, so only the first four games are guaranteed to be played. There can be as few as 32, if all eight first-round series are resolved in four games. But it can be as many as to 56 if all eight series need all seven games.

These are the First Round matchups and rankings for this year’s playoff bracket.

Eastern Conference
  • #1 Atlantic Florida Panthers vs WC1 Tampa Bay Lightning
  • #2 Atlantic Boston Bruins vs #3 Atlantic Toronto Maple Leafs
  • #1 Metropolitan New York Rangers vs WC2 Washington Capitals
  • #2 Metropolitan Carolina Hurricanes (NJD) vs #3 Metropolitan New York Islanders
Western Conference
  • #1 Central Dallas Stars vs Vegas Golden Knights
  • #2 Central Winnipeg Jets vs #3 Central Colorado Avalanche
  • #1 Pacific Vancouver Canucks vs WC1 Nashville Predators
  • #2 Pacific Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

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Second Round

This round is also called the Conference Semifinals. Eight teams eliminated, eight teams remain, four from each conference. That means two series for each conference, between 16 and 28 games.

Conference Finals

The third round is similar to the AFC and NFC championships in the NFL. It determines the Eastern and Western Conference Champions and the two teams that will duke it out at the Stanley Cup Final.

Los Angeles Kings Team Captain Anže Kopitar, 2015
Los Angeles Kings Team Captain Anze Kopitar, 2015 / cropped from original by Kyle Geib under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Stanley Cup Finals

The fourth and final round is the last best-of-seven series to determine the league champion and, as the name implies, the recipient of the Stanley Cup.

Watching the Playoffs on Sling TV

Watching the bulk of the playoff matches on Sling TV is no problem. TNT, TBS, ESPN, and ESPN2 are all included in the Sling Orange base package for $40.00/mo. The only sticking point is ABC.

This year, ABC will air some Saturday games. The first ones on the schedule are on May 4.

ABC is included in Sling Blue in the following eight media markets:

  • WABC-TV New York
  • KABC-TV Los Angeles
  • WLS-TV Chicago
  • WPVI-TV Philadelphia,
  • KGO-TV San Francisco
  • KTRK-TV Houston
  • WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham
  • KFSN-TV Fresno

Here’s the rub, though: ESPN is only on Sling Orange, and the ABC channels (where available) are only on Sling Blue. To get all of them, you’d need Sling Orange + Blue, which is $55.00/mo. It’s still a good deal, but there is another way.

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

Sling TV actively encourages the use of an HD antenna with their service to supplement the local channels they don’t provide. First-time users can prepay two months and get a free antenna, or a huge discount on a streaming device optimized for Sling that will integrate local channels into your Sling TV interface.

New York Rangers Goalie Igor Shesterkin, 2021
Rangers Goalie Igor Shesterkin, 2021 / by Tlop2000 under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2024 NHL Playoffs Schedule

Here are all the NHL Playoff games scheduled for the next week.


Wrapping Up

Sling TV is the cheapest service that carries ESPN. And Fubo may bill itself as a sports-first service, but it doesn’t include the Turner networks that NHL, NBA, and NCAA basketball playoffs are broadcast on. Sling does, at half the price. Save 50% on Sling TV now!

Save 50% on Sling TV Now


How can I find more information on watching my favorite NHL team?

We’ve got team-specific guides for the entire NHL! Spoiler alert: they’re all available on Sling TV!

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Featured image: the original Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada by Scazon under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Page Updates

  1. Updated for 2024

  2. Updated for 2024

  3. Updated for 2024

  4. Changes to some sections.

Alanna Baker
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