Summary List Placement
The National Hockey League (NHL) will play a shortened 56-game season beginning January 13.
To minimize travel and comply with Canadian border-crossing restrictions, the league has realigned into four geographically-based divisions.
National games are carried on NBC and NBCSN, but due to local blackouts and broadcast rights, you may need multiple subscriptions to watch as many games as possible.
For the best access to the 2021 season without cable, we suggest pairing a live TV streaming service, like Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV, with an NHL.tv subscription.
As COVID-19 continues to change how major league sports are played across the country, the NHL has adapted to travel restrictions, condensed timelines, and revenue losses in preparation for the upcoming season. But after weeks of discussion and logistical planning, the start of the 2021 season has arrived.
The NHL season will look a bit different this year. Instead of the typical 82-game slate, the season has been condensed to 56 games. The league also done away with pre-season games, so we jump right into meaningful action on January 13.
Due to travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government, the league has also had to realign playing divisions, grouping all seven Canadian teams into the North Division. The rest of the teams are split into East, West, and Central divisions based on geographic locations. Teams will only play within their division until the playoffs, making each and every regular-season game a divisional matchup against a rival. It also means teams will play each other eight to 10 times, so we’re sure to see some fast-moving, hard-hitting hockey this season.
Updated on 1/12/2021 by Kevin Webb: This article has been updated to include details about NHL games on ESPN+.
How to watch the 2021 NHL season
There are several services hockey fans can subscribe to in order to watch the full slate of NHL games throughout the season. NBC and NBC Sports are the national broadcast partner for the NHL, with select games broadcasting on NBCSN during weeknights, and Sunday afternoon marquee matchups shown on NBC. That said, how to best watch the NHL will depend on what team you follow and where you’re located in relation to them.
To catch those nationally televised games without cable, you’ll need a subscription to a streaming service with live TV access to NBC or NBCSN. At $30 a month, we think Sling TV Blue offers the best value for the channels and content you can access. And for an additional $10 a month, you can add the Sports Extra package which includes the NHL Network where you can watch additional out-of-market games.
If you follow an out-of-market NHL team
If you follow an out-of-market team — a team that is not geographically located near where you live — you’ll more easily be able to find games to watch. NHL.tv, the league’s own streaming service, offers access to every out-of-market game except for those …read more
Source:: Business Insider