The NHL Stanley Cup Final is the pinnacle of the season, and every year millions of hockey fans tune in to watch the best of the best battle it out on the ice. If you’re a cord-cutter looking to catch the action without cable, Sling TV has you covered.
In a hurry? This year, for the very first time, TNT will be carrying the entire Stanley Cup Final series. You can get TNT on either Sling Blue or Sling Orange for $40.00/mo — which is the cheapest you can get it.
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For 15 years in the US, NBC held the broadcasting rights, but starting in 2021-22, the NHL moved to split their national games between ESPN and Turner Sports. This means that National Hockey League games now appear on the NHL Network, ESPN and its related channels (ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, etc.), TNT, and TBS.
Sling TV carries all these channels — for the lowest price available.
The Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy in North American professional sports. Donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor General of Canada, in 1892, it was originally intended to be awarded to Canada’s top amateur hockey club. However, it was later opened up to professional teams, and was first awarded to a pro hockey team in 1907 (the Kenora Thistles).
The coolest thing about the Stanley Cup is that each player on the winning team gets to take it home for a day and do whatever they want with it. As a result, the cup has been used as a cereal bowl, a dog dish, a feed container for a Kentucky Derby winner, a baptismal font, and even taken to the top of Mount Everest.
Watching the Stanley Cup Final on Sling TV
As mentioned, this is the first year that TNT will be airing the entire Final. This makes it the first time the entire Final series will be aired on exclusively cable, and the first time the whole thing has aired on a cable channel at all since ESPN’s broadcast of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.
But the good news for you is that TNT is included in all the Sling TV base plans, so, as far as the Final goes, you can’t go wrong. Either base plan, Sling Orange or Sling Blue, includes TNT plus 30-40 more channels for just $40.00/mo.
However, we suspect that most hockey fans will also want to watch the rest of the NHL postseason. Games in the earlier rounds will be on TNT, TBS, ESPN, and ESPN2 (see our complete schedule as it’s released), with one Saturday evening match per week on ABC. And ESPN isn’t on Sling Blue.
So if you want to be all set for the entire postseason, you should sign up for Sling Orange — or if you want the Sling Blue channels as well, get Sling Orange + Blue for $55.00/mo. See our guide to Sling TV’s channels and packages for more information on the differences between Orange and Blue.
The 2023 Stanley Cup Final
16 teams are fighting to be the last one standing and lift one of sport’s most prestigious trophies in June. Will last year’s Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche repeat? Will the regular-season powerhouse Boston Bruins do so instead? Or will a team come out of nowhere to claim it?
Seeding and First Round Matchups
Going into the First Round of the NHL Playoffs, these were the postseason bracket matchups, based on the rankings from the regular season.
- #1 Atlantic Boston Bruins (BOS) vs WC2 Florida Panthers (FLA)
- #2 Atlantic Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR) vs #3 Atlantic Tampa Bay Lightning (TBL)
- #1 Metropolitan Carolina Hurricanes (CAR) vs WC1 New York Islanders (NYI)
- #2 Metropolitan New Jersey Devils (NJD) vs #3 Metropolitan New York Rangers (NYR)
- #1 Central Colorado Avalanche (COL) vs WC1 Seattle Kraken (SEA)
- #2 Central Dallas Stars (DAL) vs #3 Central Minnesota Wild (MIN)
- #1 Pacific Vegas Golden Knights (VGK) vs WC2 Winnipeg Jets (WPG)
- #2 Pacific Edmonton Oilers (EDM) vs #3 Pacific Los Angeles Kings (LAK)
We don’t know yet how the Second Round or Conference Finals will shake out, but here’s what we know so far.
Division Winners: Bruins, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Golden Knights
Although the value of the regular season is arguably less important in hockey than it is in other sports, considering how many upsets occur in the NHL postseason every year, this season’s division winners are ones to watch.
Sitting at the top of the heap in 2022-23 were the Boston Bruins, who dominated the league, claiming 135 points, 22 more than Carolina, who had the second-highest total. In fact, Boston’s regular season was historic in so many ways, as the Bruins set NHL records for wins (65) and points.
The point totals of the division winners out west were not as high with the Vegas Golden Knights securing a Western Conference-leading 111 while the Colorado Avalanche tallied 109. In fact, three Eastern Conference teams had higher totals than anyone in the Western Conference.
Best of the Rest: Maple Leafs, Lightning, Devils, Rangers, Stars, Wild, Oilers, Kings
The next group of teams that many are focusing on are those that finished in second or third place in their respective divisions. Of these, the New Jersey Devils impressed the most. Their 112 points, just one behind Metropolitan Division winner Carolina, were more than every team in the Western Conference attained. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs grabbed an impressive 111 points in their 82 contests.
The remaining teams in this group are the Edmonton Oilers (109 points), Dallas Stars (108), New York Rangers (107), Los Angeles Kings (104), Minnesota Wild (103), and Tampa Bay Lightning (98).
The Final Ones In: Islanders, Panthers, Kraken, Jets
The best team of the rest as far as the regular season went is the second-year Seattle Kraken, who were the 12th franchise with a triple-digit point total, exactly at 100. The Winnipeg Jets (95 points) round out the Western Conference field while the New York Islanders (93) and Florida Panthers (92) complete the field in the east.
Teams Golfing Already
Although the Stanley Cup playoffs are extensive with 16 participants, that number means that another 16 franchises are on the outside looking in with many of their players already hitting the golf courses.
Regardless of what they decide to do with their free time, players on these teams are no longer playing hockey: Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks.
So … Who Is Going To Win the Stanley Cup Final?
Unsurprisingly, the Bruins, who are led by forwards Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak and goalie Linus Ullmark, receive more nods by prognosticators to win the Stanley Cup Final as compared to the other 15 competitors.
However, it cannot be stressed enough how unpredictable the postseason is in this sport. For example, Boston is not even cruising through its first round matchup as the Florida Panthers, the playoff team with the worst record, took game two in Beantown, 6-3, to tie that series at 1-1.
Another popular selection is Edmonton, despite that team not even winning its division. If the Oilers are going to make this selection come true, forward Connor McDavid will need to continue playing at the high level that he did throughout the regular season.
Carolina receiving numerous nods is not surprising, given that it had the NHL’s second-highest point total. The Hurricanes are led by defenseman Brent Burns.
Colorado experiencing a lot of confidence in its chances is also unsurprising. In addition to claiming the Central Division this year, the Avalanche, led by forward Nathan MacKinnon, won the Stanley Cup a year ago, the franchise’s third and its initial one in more than two decades.
Others thought of highly include the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto winning it would be especially surprising in some respects as the Maple Leafs have not even won a playoff series in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, Toronto, Edmonton, or Winnipeg claiming the Stanley Cup would be historic as it would mark the first title claimed by a Canadian team since Montreal lifted it in 1993.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Format
Here is a breakdown of the Stanley Cup playoffs format for those who are new to this mesmerizing spectacle. Fortunately, its important aspects are simple to understand.
Sixteen teams take part in a fixed bracket with each round consisting of seven-game series played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, meaning that one of the teams hosts games one, two, five, and seven. Games five, six, and seven are only played if necessary.
If the score of any contest is tied at the end of regulation, the teams will head to overtime and play until someone scores to break the deadlock. This can go deep into the night. In fact, two playoff games have gone to six overtimes, meaning that fans essentially saw nearly three games with one ticket. Both of those occurred in the 1930s and, crazily, both were scoreless ties until the decider was scored.
So if you want to watch the Stanley Cup Final (and/or the Playoffs) on the cheap, you can’t do better than Sling TV. You cannot stream either the Turner channels (TNT and TBS) or ESPN/ESPN2 for less. So sign up for Sling TV and see for yourself if anyone manages to break Wayne Gretzky’s record on assists.
Which NHL teams have never won a Stanley Cup?
Among currently active teams, the Vancouver Canucks have made the final three times and never won, with their most recent appearance being in 2011. The Buffalo Sabres have similarly appeared twice with no wins, most recently in 1999.
Five teams have appeared once and lost:
- Florida Panthers (1996)
- Vegas Golden Knights (2018)
- Nashville Predators (2017)
- Ottawa Senators (2007)
- San Jose Sharks (2016)
And these teams have never made the Final:
- Minnesota Wild
- Winnipeg Jets
- Seattle Kraken
- Arizona Coyotes
- Columbus Blue Jackets
Which team has the most Stanley Cup wins?
The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more times than any other team in NHL history, with a total of 24 championships. The team’s first cup win came in 1916, but their most recent win was 1993, which was also the last time a Canadian team took home the Cup.
Featured image: Marc-André Fleury and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins show off their 2009 Stanley Cup during a victory parade through center-city Pittsburgh / taken by Michael Righi under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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