How to Stream the 2018 NHL Playoffs Live on Your Apple TV without Cable

The 2018 National Hockey League Playoffs are underway, and as the Stanley Cup Finals draw closer, fans are wondering how to live stream the NHL games. Let's find out the NHL Playoff game dates, which channels the games are on this year, and how to live stream all the Stanley Cup Finals to our Apple TVs.

Related: Apple TV: Your Complete Guide to Setting Up & Streaming On-Demand Content    

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When Are the 2018 NHL Playoffs?

The playoff games begin on April 11 and will continue over the next few weeks through Round 1, Round 2, the Conference Finals, and finally, the Stanley Cup Finals in early June. 

What Channel Are the 2018 NHL Playoff Games On?

The NHL Playoff games will be broadcast on NBC affiliate channels again this year: NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, NBCSports, USA, and the NHL Network. Two of the Round 1 games on April 18 will be broadcast on the Golf Channel. 

How to Watch the NHL Playoffs without Cable

With most of the playoff games on NBC affiliate channels, I wish I could tell you to download the NBC app for free on your Apple TV; but sadly I can't. The NBC app requires you to enter a code from your satellite or cable provider to start streaming, so cable-cutters can't use this app. In another disappointing turn of events, those of us who thought we could use our NHL.TV subscriptions to watch the playoffs live will have to settle for catching the games on demand after the live broadcasts are over. There are other options for cord-cutters to watch all the playoff games live on Apple TV, though. Let's go over several of them below, so you can learn which one works best for you. 

Live Stream 2018 NHL Playoffs with Sportsnet NOW

This service is only available for those lucky Canadians out there, but I want to mention it as it's such a great option for catching every single playoff game this season. With features including HD broadcast, split-screen viewing, 24-hour rewind on select channels, and even on-demand programming, I'm more than a bit jealous of Canadians right now.

nhl live stream 

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: $24.99 per month.

Pros: Month-to-month subscription, cancel at any time before subscription renews. 

Con: Only available in Canada.

Watch the 2018 NHL Playoffs on OTA TV

nhl live stream free

OTA stands for over the air, in other words, an antenna! Yes, it's true, you can legally pick up locally broadcasted channels and stream them to your Apple TV with an antenna. While you might be envisioning the old-fashioned version that looks like a laundry rack attached to your roof, there are now lots of OTA options that stay right inside your house. Some can boost signals, as well, which is really helpful if you live in a rural area. There are lots of choices, so look into whether NBC is broadcast in your area, or could be picked up with an antenna that features signal boosting. If you can pick up NBC with your OTA antenna, you'll be able to catch some of the 2018 playoff games. Some OTA buying options include AirTVHD HomeRun, and Mohu, but there are lots more out there. Check out the Mohu website for a handy tool that lets you enter your zip code to find out how far major broadcasting towers are from your location, then choose an antenna powerful enough to pick up those signals. 

Stream the 2018 Stanley Cup with fuboTV

stanley cup playoffs

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: $19.99 per month for the first two months, $44.99 a month after that.

Pros: Seven-day free trial period with no commitment, then a two-month special reduced price. 

Con: Channel availability varies by region.
FuboTV is a TV-streaming service with a heavy focus on live sports. The basic package, fubo Premier, offers more than 70 channels of content that include NBCSN, NBC Sports, CNBC, USA, and the Golf Channel. For $8.99 more a month FuboTV will give you Sports Plus, 16 channels of sports content ranging from the mainstream to the extremely obscure, but even this extra doesn't include NBC. If you have an OTA antenna that picks up NBC, and also subscribe to FuboTV, you'll be able to catch all the 2018 NFL Playoff games.

To sign up for FuboTV and find the Apple TV app, click here.

2018 NHL Playoffs & Stanley Cup Live Coverage with Sling TV 

stanley cup 2018

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: Sling TV Orange Plan, $20 per month, Blue Plan, $25 per month, Orange and Blue, $40 per month.

Pros: Seven-day free trial period with no commitment.

Con: Channel availability varies by region.

Sling TV is an à la carte streaming TV service that allows viewers to pay far less than a cable subscription would cost. Customers can choose Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or both. As an added bonus, Sling offers a Cloud DVR option for $5 per month. This way you can record the playoff games and watch them later if you have work or family plans to accommodate. If you purchase Sling Blue and Sling Orange at $5 per month, then add the $5 per month News Extra package, you'll have access to all the NHL Playoff channels: NBC, NBC Sports, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, and even NBC Golf; but offerings vary from region to region. Make sure both channels are available in your area. 

Here are step-by-step instructions to help you find and install the Sling TV app on your Apple TV. 

Watch & Replay the NHL Playoffs 2018 with Hulu Live on your Apple TV

nhl playoffs 2018

Compatability: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: seven-day free trial, then $39.99 per month.

Pros: Watch on two devices at once.

Cons: Beta version.

Hulu has made the jump and joined the live-streaming tv game with their Hulu Live offering, which includes access to the entire Hulu streaming library. If you live in the right area, $39.99 a month will get you NBC, USA, NBCSN, CNBC, and even NBC Golf; all the playoff channels! A few cautions, though, Hulu warns right up front that this is a beta version and therefore subject to bugs and hiccups, so if you want to ensure the smoothest possible streaming of the race, this could be slightly risky. Hulu customers have also complained about commercials with adult themes before, during, and after family and sports content, so if you're watching the playoffs with kids, Hulu might not be the best choice for your family.

If you live in an area where Hulu Live provides all the playoff channels, you can learn how to set it up on your Apple TV here
Top image credit: klarka0608 /
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Leanne Hays's picture

Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.