How to stream the NHL playoffs with a VPN

Updated: May 19, 2021
How to stream the NHL playoffs with a VPN

How to watch the NHL Playoffs online with a VPN

Streaming the NHL playoffs is possible with a VPN, either through free services or those offering free trials. This page will help guide you to the best platforms for watching your team’s quest to win the Stanley Cup.

Watch the NHL Playoffs on free streaming services

Stream the games on CBC Gem

Channel: ‘Live TV’

CBC Gem is a free and easy way to watch a large percentage of the NHL playoffs without spending a dime. The official NHL schedule indicates the broadcasters for every game, and if CBC is among them, you can tune in to watch without signing up with your credit card.

To stream on CBC Gem:

  1. Get ExpressVPN.
  2. Connect to a server location in Canada.
  3. Head to CBC Gem and sign up for a free membership. All you’ll need to provide is your name and email address.
  4. Enjoy the stream!

Watching on a computer? For the best streaming experience, use the ExpressVPN browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Want it on the big screen? Check out this handy guide.

Learn more about watching CBC Gem with ExpressVPN.

Stream the NHL playoffs with

Channel: NBC

The American broadcast of the NHL playoffs is split between NBC and NBCSN. Locast is an excellent free option for the games broadcast on NBC. Check the schedule for the Peacock logo with no lettering beneath it; that indicates the game is on NBC and will be available to watch live on local TV through Locast.

To stream the playoffs with Locast:

  1. Get ExpressVPN
  2. Fire up the ExpressVPN browser extension for ChromeFirefox, or Edge
  3. Connect to a server location in the U.S. where the game is taking place
  4. Go to and sign up.
  5. Select the market that corresponds with the server location you’re connected to.
  6. Tune in to the local NBC channel and enjoy the hockey!

Want it on the big screen? Check out this handy guide.

Learn more about watching Locast with ExpressVPN.

Watch the playoffs on NBCSN, CNBC, and USA Network

Price: 10 USD/month and up

Channel: NBCSN

A number of the playoff games will be broadcast on NBCSN, CNBC, and USA Network which are best accessed through cord-cutting services. A variety of free trials are available.

To watch:

  1. Get ExpressVPN.
  2. Connect to a server location in the U.S.
  3. Head to fuboTV (65 USD/month), YouTube TV (65 USD/month), Sling TV Blue (10 USD/month and up) or Hulu+Live TV (55 USD/month), and sign up. You may need to enter a valid U.S. ZIP code (e.g., 10001, 48104).
  4. Enjoy the stream!

Want it on the big screen? Check out this handy guide.

Learn more about watching fuboTV, YouTube TV, Sling TV and Hulu+Live TV with ExpressVPN.

Watch the run to the Stanley Cup Finals on NHL.TV

Price: 99.99 USD for the playoffs

Although it comes with a hefty price tag, NHL.TV grants access to every NHL game without having to toggle between different broadcasters. If this convenient one-stop-shop approach is worth the price to you, a VPN can help avoid any regional blackouts.

Here’s how:

  1. Get ExpressVPN
  2. Connect to a server location where the event is NOT being aired (this way you can avoid blackouts)
  3. Visit NHL.TV and sign up
  4. Stream without any blackouts!

Want it on the big screen? Check out this handy guide.

First round playoff matchups

Colorado Avalanche (1) vs. St. Louis Blues (4)

Coming into the year, the Blues were expected to be one of the better teams in their division, but it took a late-season hot streak just to make the playoffs. Although St. Louis is overmatched against a team many see as the Stanley Cup favorite, it’s unwise to overlook the recent champions. The Blues have solid depth scoring, one of the best defense pairings in the game, and a team that’s been there before. The Avalanche are likely to advance on talent alone, but have been dealt a tough first-round opponent.

Vegas Golden Knights (2) vs. Minnesota Wild (3)

The Golden Knights just missed out on winning the division, and would’ve been favorites if they’d been in the North or Central. Vegas brings a truly elite squad to the table, while the Wild are more of a feel-good story than a Stanley Cup threat. A solid group of defensemen and rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov might help the Wild steal a game or two, but it’ll be tough sledding against the Golden Knights.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (4)

This matchup has been a long time coming. The Maple Leafs and Canadiens have battled in the playoffs 15 times previously, but the last meeting was 42 years ago. Toronto’s title drought since 1967 is well documented—as is its inability to escape the first round in recent history—but the Leafs are heavy favorites to find some elusive playoff success in this series. The Maple Leafs have far more firepower than the Habs, but Montreal is a well-coached, well-organized team that could get some magic from goaltender Carey Price.

Edmonton Oilers (2) vs. Winnipeg Jets (3)

Edmonton is extremely top-heavy, but the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl can be overwhelming with the rest of the roster having to chip in too much. Winnipeg has a more balanced squad, but its group of blueliners is underwhelming. For the Jets to win this series, Connor Hellebuyck may have to stand on his head.

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs. New York Islanders (4)

After flying under the radar for most of the season, the Penguins surged ahead in the finishing stretch to claim the tightest division in the sport. Although Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are now 33 and 34, respectively, the pair is still extremely hard to stop. The Penguins have an edge in terms of experience and offensive explosiveness, while the Islanders best chance is to play extremely disciplined, tight-checking hockey and hope to squeak out wins in low-scoring games.

Washington Capitals (2) vs. Boston Bruins (3)

It’s possible that both these teams are past their prime, but each remains dangerous, and a little extra playoff experience goes a long way. After a bumpy start, the Alex Ovechkin of old re-emerged mid-season and restored the Capitals’ offense to its typically-deadly form, while the Bruins’ first line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is still a truly dominant unit. This might be the most evenly-matched first round series, and nobody will be excited to face the winner.

Carolina Hurricanes (1) vs. Nashville Predators (4)

Although the Hurricanes had a far better season than the Predators, these two teams are built similarly. Each possesses a standout group of defensemen, strong goaltending, and lives and dies on the production of forward groups lacking star power. That formula has worked for Carolina all year long, and Nashville may have a hard time creating offence against the Hurricanes.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Florida Panthers (3)

The defending champs remain a force to be reckoned with, especially with Nikita Kucherov bolstering the lineup after missing the whole season with a hip injury. The Lightning were already stacked prior to the former Hart Trophy winner’s return, but now they look like an absolute menace. The Panthers are a quality team without glaring weaknesses, but it’s hard to see them coming out on top against the most dangerous team in the playoffs.

2021 NHL calendar

Here is a list of some of the most important 2021 NHL playoff and offseason events. Dates listed here may be subject to change.

First game of the NHL PlayoffsMay 15, 2021
Last possible game of the Stanley Cup FinalsJuly 9, 2021
Seattle Kraken Expansion DraftJuly 21, 2021
NHL DraftJuly 23-24, 2021
Free agency beginsJuly 28, 2021

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