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Explaining NHL Blackouts: How Do Blackouts on ESPN+ Work?

Jason Gurwin

With the addition of new media partners this year, it’s been confusing as ever for NHL fans with and without cable to understand where and what games they can actually watch.

For cable and satellite subscribers, they have been used to being able to get every game – either on their local RSN, cable network or broadcast TV. For out-of-market fans, they were used to being able to stream every out-of-market NHL game on NHL.TV, except those nationally televised.

That’s no longer the case.

With the addition of ESPN and TNT as a media partners, and some nationally televised games only available to stream on ESPN+ and Hulu, that has changed. If you want to read more on NHL on ESPN+, we broke down what has changed and what hasn't from NHL.TV.

If you are looking for out-of-market action or for teams in your city, we broke down how blackouts work and what game won’t be available without a streaming subscription.

Out-Of-Market Games

With ESPN+, you will be able to stream over 1,000 out-of-market NHL games this season. But what ones won’t be able to stream live? Unless they are one of the 75+ nationally televised on ESPN+, with NHL.TV on ESPN+, you won’t be able to watch games involving local teams or those airing NHL Network, ESPN, and TNT.

Local Blackouts

Just like past seasons, you can’t stream live games available in your local market with NHL.TV on ESPN+. For example, that means if you live in Detroit or the surrounding areas, you can’t stream Detroit Red Wings games. But, if you live in Florida and want to stream the Red Wings, unless they are playing the Lightning or Panthers, you can stream their games.

It gets slightly more complicated if you live in an area without an NHL team, since multiple teams may claim you are in their local territory. You can use the NHL.TV blackout detector to see which teams with be blacked out in your market.

NHL Network Blackouts

For the past two seasons, NHL.TV didn’t black out games on NHL Network. One of the negative changes this season is games that are on NHL Network (~90 games) will not be available live on ESPN+, even if the teams are out-of-market.

Instead, you will need a Live TV Streaming Service like Sling TV or fuboTV for that.

National TV Blackouts

The other games you won’t be able to watch are those on TNT (50 games) and ESPN (18 games, except the season openers), even if the teams aren’t in your local market.

Replays for all games, including those on NHL Network, TNT, and ESPN will be available within 24 hours after they air. Unless the game is due to local blackout, most will be available immediately after they air live, with everything else appearing 24 hours after the live games end.

Local Games

For most local games, you will still need cable, satellite, or a Live TV Streaming Service to watch games on your local RSN.

But, unlike past season, those with cable or satellite or get their local RSN from a Live TV Streaming service, you will now need ESPN+ or Hulu in order to watch select games in your local market. ESPN+ and Hulu will carry 75+ exclusive games this season that will not be available on cable or satellite via your local RSN.

This has been confusing for hockey fans that are used to getting every game via their cable or satellite package. We broke down below how many games each team will stream exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu.

NHL National TV Games By Team

This is how many games will air on each channel for in-market streaming of your favorite NHL team.

Colorado Avalanche 69 5 3 5 13
Chicago Blackhawks 69 7 1 5 13
Columbus Blue Jackets 76 6 0 0 6
St. Louis Blues 69 6 2 5 13
Boston Bruins 69 5 3 5 13
Montreal Canadiens 78 2 0 2 4
Vancouver Canucks 78 1 0 3 4
Washington Capitals 69 5 3 5 13
Arizona Coyotes 71 8 0 3 11
New Jersey Devils 73 8 0 1 9
Anaheim Ducks 71 7 1 3 11
Philadelphia Flyers 69 6 2 5 13
Vegas Golden Knights 70 6 2 4 12
Carolina Hurricanes 74 7 1 0 8
New York Islanders 70 6 2 4 12
Los Angeles Kings 69 6 2 5 13
Seattle Kraken 69 8 0 5 13
Tampa Bay Lightning 69 6 2 5 13
Toronto Maple Leafs 76 1 1 4 6
Edmonton Oilers 73 3 0 6 9
Florida Panthers 74 8 0 0 8
Pittsburgh Penguins 69 8 0 5 13
Nashville Predators 71 8 0 3 11
New York Rangers 69 7 1 5 13
Detroit Red Wings 72 8 0 2 10
Buffalo Sabres 72 8 0 2 10
San Jose Sharks 74 7 1 0 8
Dallas Stars 71 5 3 3 11
Minnesota Wild 69 6 2 5 13