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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: How to Watch the Conference Finals Tonight

Only four teams are left vying for the Stanley Cup. Florida and Carolina kick off the Eastern Conference finals tonight.

Sarah Lord Associate Writer
Sarah Lord covers TVs and home entertainment. Prior to joining CNET, Sarah served as the tech and electronic reviews fellow at Insider, where she wrote about everything from smart watches and wearables to tablets and e-readers. She began her career by writing laptop reviews as an intern and subsequent freelancer at Tom's Hardware. She is also a professional actor with many credits in theater, film and television.
Expertise TVs, Home Entertainment, Streaming, Computers Credentials
  • Member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association
Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
Sarah Lord
Eli Blumenthal
4 min read
See at ESPN
ESPN Plus: $10 a month
Carries 2023 Stanley Cup playoff games live
See at Sling TV
Sling TV Orange: $40, $60 or $65
Carries ESPN, TNT and ABC (via ESPN3)
See at Hulu
Hulu Plus Live TV: $70
Carries ABC, ESPN, and TNT
See at YouTube
YouTube TV: $73
Carries ABC, ESPN, TNT
See at DirecTV Stream
DirecTV Stream: $80
Carries ABC, ESPN, and TNT
See at FuboTV
FuboTV: $75
Carries ABC and ESPN

Hockey's final four is set, with the Florida Panthers taking on the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals and the Dallas Stars facing off against the Vegas Golden Knights in the West. 

The Stars are looking to win their first Cup since 1999 and hoping to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019-20 season. The Vegas Golden Knights have also been to the Stanley Cup Final recently, losing to the Washington Capitals in the team's inaugural season of 2018. 

Meanwhile, the underdog Florida Panthers are attempting to make their second Stanley Cup Final appearance and their first since they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in 1995-96. The Carolina Hurricanes last won the Stanley Cup in the 2005-06 season, when current coach Rod Brind'Amour was the captain of the team. 

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes will be played tonight, Wednesday May 18, at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on TNT. 

Thanks to live TV streaming services, cord-cutters can stream all the action with no cable subscription required. Here's everything you need to know about how to watch or stream the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

a Carolina Hurricanes player protects the puck from an Florida Panther defenseman.

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers meet in the Eastern Conference finals.

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

NHL playoffs FAQ

What is the 2023 Conference finals schedule?

Here's the schedule for the first four games of each series in the NHL Conference finals, including the series status. See NHL.com for the full schedule.

Thursday, May 18

  • Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 1, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on TNT

Friday, May 19

  • Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Game 1, 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN

Saturday, May 20

  • Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 2, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on TNT

Sunday, May 21

  • Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Game 2, 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT) on ABC

Monday, May 22

  • Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on TNT

Tuesday, May 23

  • Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on ESPN

Wednesday, May 24

  • Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers, Game 4, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on TNT

Thursday, May 25

  • Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars, Game 4, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on ESPN

What does the full bracket look like? 

What channels will broadcast playoff games?

The NHL playoffs air on a collection of networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT and TBS.

The Stanley Cup Final will air on TNT in the US and on Sportsnet in Canada.

How can I stream the games on my phone?

If you have a live TV streaming service (like Sling TV, YouTube TV or one of the ones below), you can use its app. If you have cable or satellite, you can use your provider's app or one of the following, after logging in with your cable provider's credentials:

  • For ABC games, use the ESPN app. Click the gear icon in the upper right and then select Manage TV provider.
  • For TNT games, use the TNT app. Click the person icon to sign in with your TV provider. 

How to watch, livestream the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

As these games all air nationally, the best way to catch all the hockey action live, without cable, is with a live TV streaming service.

ESPN Plus is the home of hockey's out-of-market coverage and will air all Stanley Cup playoff games simultaneously with ABC and ESPN. 

While the $10 a month, $100 per year service is best suited for die-hard fans of the sports it covers well -- mainly hockey, soccer and UFC -- more casual fans might find themselves with an ESPN Plus subscription anyway through the Disney bundle, which also includes Hulu and Disney Plus with ads for $13 total.

Sling TV's Orange plan includes ESPN and TNT. ABC, however, is only available in eight markets (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Fresno, Houston and Raleigh) and requires the Orange and Blue combo plan if you want ESPN too. That combo plan costs $65 per month in all of those cities except Fresno, Houston and Raleigh, where it costs $60. Even if ABC isn't available in your area, you can watch those games using the simulcast stream available on ESPN3. 

Hulu Plus Live TV costs $70 a month and carries ABC, ESPN and TNT. 

YouTube TV costs $73 a month and offers ABC, ESPN and TNT.

DirecTV Stream is expensive. It's the priciest of the five major live TV streaming services. Its cheapest, $65-a-month Entertainment package includes ESPN, ABC, and TNT. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels and RSNs are available in your area. 

It is worth noting that DirecTV has an additional $15 "advanced receiver service" fee that automatically applies and is added on to the sticker price, which makes the Entertainment package $80 per month.

FuboTV costs $75 a month and also includes ABC and ESPN but not TNT. 

Most live TV streaming services offer a free trial or discounts during the first month and allow you to cancel anytime. All require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.