Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more

Chasing the Stanley Cup: The 2023 NHL Playoffs are Definitely Cheaper on Sling TV

Last Updated:

The NHL Playoffs are a go! Starting Monday, April 17, 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, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT, which are the four channels the vast majority of games will be on, all for just $40.00/mo, as well as 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 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 Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid will join the elite level of players to score 40+ points in the postseason (only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have managed it so far), 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 Teams and Regular Season Standings

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 wildcard slots, which go to the top two remaining teams.

Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference regular season champions are the Boston Bruins, who are also the Atlantic Division champions. At 135 points for the season (an NHL record), they are far and away the top-ranked team in the standings, making them also the recipients of this year’s Presidents’ Trophy. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning are the other two Atlantic 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 Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes are the division champs by one point over Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils and six points over the New York Rangers.

The two wildcard teams are the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers.

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

Western Conference

The Western Conference regular season champs are the Vegas Golden Knights, who are also the champions of the Pacific Division. The Edmonton Oilers (league leaders in assists this season, thanks to McDavid) and Los Angeles Kings took the other two top Pacific slots.

The Colorado Avalanche are the Central Division victors (and last year’s Stanley Cup Champions), followed by the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild.

The Western wildcards are the Seattle Kraken (the first time in the Playoffs for the two-year-old franchise) and the Winnipeg Jets.

Teams Eliminated from the Playoffs:

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

  • Calgary Flames
  • Nashville Predators
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Anaheim Ducks

The Rounds

The NHL Playoffs are played in four rounds. At the time of this writing, we have just finished all the first games of the first round, and each series is proceeding to Game 2.

The lower seeded wildcard team from each Conference plays the higher-ranked Division winner, and 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-rink advantage is with the team with the better seed in the first two rounds, and the team that had the better regular season record after that.

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 anywhere from 32 (if all eight first-round series are resolved in four games) to 56 (if all eight series need all seven games) games in the First Round.

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

Eastern Conference
Western Conference

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

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 — this 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 one Saturday evening game per week. As of right now, in the first round, only one game is scheduled to be on ABC, Game 3 of the Rangers versus the Devils, Saturday, April 22, at .

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 and ESPN2 are 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

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. Sign up for Sling TV today!

Save 50% on Sling TV Now

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. Changes to some sections.

Alanna Baker
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap