Skip to Content

How to Watch Live NHL Hockey Games Without Cable in 2024

If you’d like to watch the NHL this season, you have some great options to stream every play, from the first preseason puck-drop to the Stanley Cup. The Streamable has been tracking NHL streaming options since 2017, and we’ve helped millions of people find the right provider. That means tracking every channel, every team, and every streaming provider to find the NHL games that are in and out of market. There’s a lot to unpack here, but we’ll break down all your viewing options and help you choose the best service for you.

In short:

  • For national coverage games, you’ll need ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NHL Network
  • For local games, you’ll need a Regional Sports Network (RSN)
  • For teams out of your market, you should have ESPN+
  • To get the most out of these, we’ve found DIRECTV STREAM is the best for the NHL

How the NHL is broadcast

The NHL starts with preseason games in September, moves to regular season games on October 10, 2023, plays throughout the winter and spring, and then goes into playoffs in April 2024 and the Finals in June 2024. Each NHL team will play 82 games a season – 41 home and 41 away games. In addition, each team will play 7 or 8 exhibition games with 16 teams qualifying to play in the playoffs. In total, that comes to over 1,312 games that will be broadcast during the season.

To break things up, games are played on the national and regional level. For national games, you’ll find those on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and the NHL Network. For games broadcasted only regionally, you’ll find those on a Regional Sports Network (RSN) like Bally Sports or MSG or on a dedicated team platform like the Las Vegas Knights’ KnightTime+ app. And for teams that you want to watch out of your market, you’ll get those exclusively on ESPN+.

What that means is that you’ll need a live TV streaming service (or two) to watch the games that you care about. We’ve tested all of them for the NHL and compared them against each other. Here are the four ways that you should watch the NHL based on our experience.

Here’s a recap of how all of this shakes out on the ice if you’d rather watch me explain it on video:

What Services Offer Live NHL Games?

In North America, there are five multi-channel streaming services that carry national and regional games, three regional-specific streaming services, and one service that offers out-of-market hockey games this season. These are four main categories of providers.

Streaming Service National Games Regional Games Team-Specific Streaming Out-of-Market Streaming
DIRECTV STREAM ABC, ESPN, TNT, NHL Bally Sports Network, MSG, NESN, Altitude, SportsNet, Root, and Monumental
Fubo ABC, ESPN, NHL Network Bally Sports Network, MSG, NESN, NBC Sports, Altitude, SportsNet, Root, and Monumental
Sling ABC*, ESPN, NHL Network
Hulu Live TV ABC, ESPN, TNT NBC Sports
YouTube TV ABC, ESPN, TNT, NHL Network NBC Sports, Monumental
Bally Sports+ Bally Sports 12 Teams
MSG+ MSG 4 Teams
KnightTime+ 1 Team
ESPN+ All Teams
Max Max 60+ Games

1. Multi-Channel Live TV Streamers with NHL

Why we like it: If you want to watch your NHL team’s games across various channels, you’ll want a multi-channel Live TV streaming service.

Best Live TV Options for NHL

What is a multi-channel live TV streamer?
A multi-channel live TV streamer is like having cable access to all the best channels, but without an annual contract and doing it through the internet instead. Depending on the platform and tier, you will have access to dozens or hundreds of channels. And that is important when you want to watch all the channels that the NHL games will be playing on, especially because there are multiple that you can’t get with an antenna.

As we described earlier, the NHL’s nationally broadcast hockey games are scheduled on ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT. If you want to watch all of these channels, you’ll need DIRECTV STREAM or YouTube TV which have a similar price point. As we tested these streamers, we discovered that DIRECTV STREAM offers the most comprehensive NHL coverage because it has all of these channels. Sling is the least expensive, but it lacks ABC in most markets and TNT in all markets. (For example, our tests worked for Blackhawks fans who got ABC on Sling in Chicago, but for Predators fans in Nashville, Sling didn’t work because it isn’t carried in that market.) As for the other live TV streaming services, Fubo is missing TNT, and Hulu Live TV is missing the NHL Network.

But that’s not the only reason why DIRECTV STREAM is the best option of the multi-channel live streaming services. When we tested this on our 4k Samsung TV, DIRECTV’s 4k picture quality was great. There wasn’t any extra lag in the stream and navigating the interface was much easier than Sling’s or Hulu Live TV’s. Plus DIRECTV STREAM allows up to 20 simultaneous streams in the same house – though, we only had four running at the same time. We only wish that DIRECTV STREAM supported multiview features so that we could watch multiple channels on the same screen at the same time (which is nice when there are multiple NHL games going on at the same time).
One additional aspect going for DIRECTV is that it has the longest free trial, coming in at 5-full days. When we subscribed through Fubo, their’s was only a single day; Hulu Live TV, Sling, and YouTube TV didn’t offer a free trial (Sling, did offer a 50% off discount, however).

With DIRECTV STREAM we were able to watch all the channels we needed for our favorite NHL teams. Combined with the streaming quality and free trial, this is why we suggest hockey fans to get this option. And you’ll like this option even more as we get into RSNs.

2. Watch Your Local Team With a Regional Sports Network

Why we like it: Not every game is going to be on a national broadcaster, so this is where the Regional Sports Network (RSN) comes in to save the day.

How to Watch NHL Hockey Games with Regional Sports Networks

Each NHL team has a Regional Sports Network that carries its local games. As we tested every NHL provider, we found that this option is your best choice to track one team. In our opinion, DIRECTV STREAM is the provider you should choose for RSNs because it carries every team’s RSN except for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Las Vegas Knights.

  • 12 teams are broadcast regionally on a Bally Sports station. Only DIRECTV and Fubo carry Bally Sports. Or you can go with Bally Sports+ if you don’t want other channels.
  • 4 teams are broadcast regionally on an MSG station. Only DIRECTV and Fubo carry MSG, but you could go with MSG+ if you only care about the New York region’s NHL teams.
  • NESN, NBC Sports, Altitude, SportsNet, Root, and Monumental are the remaining RSNs that operate one or two teams. DIRECTV and Fubo carry these channels too. Hulu Live TV also carries the NBC Sports channels.

Unfortunately, Sling TV doesn’t offer regional sports networks and YouTube TV only carries the Blackhawks, the Flyers, the Sharks, and the Capitals’ regional networks. To view your teams’ local station, we’ve matched each one of them. Just use the dropdown menu here or at the top of the page to see where and when each team plays:

3. Individual DTC Team Streaming Options

Why we like it: Teams make it easy to watch just their single games with a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming option, usually at a fraction of the price.

How much is Bally Sports Plus for NHL

Sixteen teams offer direct-to-consumer streaming options. These could be helpful in supplementing another TV provider, but in our experience, the price isn’t worth it. Bally Sports+ goes for $20 per month and MSG+ goes for $30 per month. It may seem like you’re saving money, but you’ll be frustrated when you can’t see any nationally televised games – which happen at least once per month.

On top of not every team offering this option, if you travel out of your market often, you’ll lose access to your team games. This makes an option like DIRECTV STREAM even better, as we found that you can DVR the games you want to watch and then play those recordings whenever you want in any location. Bally Sports+ and MSG+ don’t offer a DVR option, but they do allow you to watch games the next day.

The only added benefit for going with a DTC option like Bally Sports+ is that you’ll get access to your local NBA team games too.

Team(s) Standalone Streamer
Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning Bally Sports+
New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres MSG+
Vegas Golden Knights KnightTime+

4. The Out-of-Market Solution

Why we like it: You aren’t going to have access to all the games with your RSN and National Games. That’s where the Out-of-Market Solution comes in.

Watch out-of-market NHL games on ESPN+

In our opinion, the best option to supplement true hockey fans is getting ESPN+. That service unlocks the NHL Power Play package: when you sign up, you’ll get more than 1,050 out-of-market games.

This option doesn’t cover you for nationally televised games, of course. But as we’ve tested all the streaming providers, only one gives you out-of-market access and that is ESPN+.

If you are a hockey junkie like me, you really can’t go without this option. As a standalone service (not included as an add-on to DIRECTV, Fubo, etc) you’ll spend $9.99 per month. Not bad to watch pretty much any game you want out of your local region.

NHL Power Play games include the choice of two separate live streams with either home team or away team commentary. You’ll also see Canadian national presentations of “Hockey Night in Canada,” providing a local experience for fans no matter where they are in the U.S. Replays of every NHL regular season and playoff game on ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT are also made available to stream on NHL Power Play on ESPN+.

It may be worth considering a Hulu Live TV subscription if ESPN+ is on your radar. Every Hulu Live TV subscription includes ESPN+ and Disney+ for free. There are a lot of great benefits there, but that lineup doesn’t get NHL Network, however.

NHL Streaming Service Comparisons, Pros and Cons


How to watch NHL on DIRECTV STREAM

When it comes to streaming, we believe DIRECTV STREAM does everything well. You have a huge channel list to choose from, there’s an unlimited DVR, and you can watch on lots of devices at once. It’s the simplest choice if you’re switching over from cable TV.

Important Included Channels: ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT, most regional sports networks
Missing Channels: NBC Sports Philadelphia


  • Best channel lineup
  • Almost every regional sports network
  • Unlimited DVR
  • Stream on 20 simultaneous devices
  • Free trial


  • Can be expensive
  • May have more channels than you need
  • Not ideal for Flyers fans

Sling TV for NHL

How to watch NHL hockey games on Sling

We love Sling TV if you’re looking to save money. You can choose the package that’s right for you, so you don’t have to pay for a bunch of channels you won’t use. When we tested Sling TV, we found it was prone to occasional glitches, especially on DVR playback. We also found the user interface to be slower and less responsive than some other streamers.

Important Included Channels: ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT
Missing Channels: regional sports networks


  • Least expensive option
  • Flexible channel lineups
  • 50% off your first month


  • Clunky UI
  • No regional sports networks
  • Limited DVR
  • ABC not available in all areas

Fubo for NHL

How to watch NHL on Fubo

Fubo bills itself as a sports-lover’s paradise, and that’s especially true if you like international soccer. When it comes to the NHL, you’ll get a wide range of regional sports channels, but the lack of TNT is unfortunate.

Important Included Channels: ABC, ESPN, and NHL Network
Missing Channels: TNT


  • Least expensive option
  • Flexible channel lineups
  • Stream on 10 devices at once
  • Offers Bally Sports Networks


  • Expensive
  • DVR limited to 1,000 hours
  • Free trial is only one day

Hulu Live TV for NHL

How to watch NHL on Hulu Live TV

Because Hulu Live TV includes a free subscription to ESPN+, this might be the best option for many hockey fans. Remember that ESPN+ offers 1,050+ out-of-market games. It has most of the great cable channels you want. And when we’re not watching hockey, we loved the ability to binge from the huge on-demand libraries of Hulu and Disney+. It’s hard to get more bang for your buck. In most cases, this is not a great option if you want a regional sports network, however.

Important Included Channels: ABC, ESPN, and TNT
Missing Channels: NHL Network, most regional sports channels


  • Includes ESPN+ at no extra cost
  • Unlimited DVR
  • Hulu and Disney+ on-demand libraries are great bonuses


  • No NHL Network
  • Missing Bally Sports Networks

YouTube TV for NHL

How to watch NHL on Youtube TV

YouTube TV is a good all-around streaming option. It has lots of important channels, the user interface is the best in the live TV space, and the price is in line with its peers. We tested YouTube TV for several years and found it to be very user-friendly and reliable. It does lack the Bally Sports channels, however. You may also be frustrated by one-size-fits-all channel lineup

Important Included Channels: ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT
Missing Channels: Bally regional sports channels


  • Great UI
  • Unlimited DVR
  • Multiview feature


  • Channel package not as customizable as other services
  • Missing Bally Sports Networks (the majority of RSNs)


If you’ve gotten this far, you can see that we’ve done extensive testing to find the best live TV streaming service for the NHL games in 2024. There are 5 multi-channel streaming services that offer NHL games this year, but DIRECTV STREAM is the only one that carries all the channels that you want for your favorite team, including the most RSNs. And if you are a true hockey fan like me, you should see the benefit of adding on ESPN+ to watch all of the out-of-market games.

But best thing to do before choosing is to check out your team’s broadcasting schedule. You can do that by looking at each team’s page in which we have collected everything you need to watch each of them:

Jason Gurwin has has spent the last 10 years in the technology, media, entertainment industries. For The Streamable, he specializes in all things media like streaming services, devices, and cord cutting.


Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Sling TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $25 Uber Eats Gift Card when you sign up for Sling TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Hulu Live TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $35 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Hulu Live TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.