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NHL playoffs schedule 2021: Full bracket, dates, times, TV channels for every series

Sporting News logo Sporting News 7/6/2021 Jackie Spiegel

After a 56-game sprint and a few COVID-19-related delays, the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs are officially here.

The most heart-stopping, enthralling and — if you're a fan of a team in the chase — nerve-wracking playoffs will begin Saturday when the Capitals host the Bruins.

Things are a little different this year — if you didn't already notice from the Capitals and the Bruins matching up in the first round. Because of COVID-19 protocols limiting travel at the beginning of the season and the closure of the Canada-U.S. border, teams were slotted into one of four divisions. There will not be a Western Conference or Eastern Conference champion and the playoffs are structured differently, which we'll delve into in a bit.

MORE: Watch NHL playoff games live & on demand with fuboTV (7-day trial)

The one familiar thing this year is that the road to lifting Lord Stanley's Cup will be a long and winding one but the end will taste oh, so sweet. Who will be the ones to drink from sports' greatest trophy? Only time will tell. 

Until then, below you'll find everything to know about watching the 2021 NHL playoffs, including series-by-series TV schedules and live streaming information.

2021 NHL playoffs bracket

final-nhl-bracket-062921-sn-illustration © Provided by Sporting News final-nhl-bracket-062921-sn-illustration

NHL playoffs 2021: TV channels, live stream

The 2021 postseason marks the final year NBC's family of networks will broadcast the NHL's road to the Stanley Cup. First-round games will be shown on NHL Network and across NBC channels in the United States, while in Canada games will be shown on FX, FXX, Sportsnet's channels and CBC.

In Canada, Chris Cuthbert and Craig Simpson will describe the Maple Leafs-Canadiens series while Harnarayan Singh and Louie DeBrusk will bring fans Oilers-Jets. David Amber and Ron McLean will be the studio anchors and will be joined by a rotating crew of analysts and insiders.

NBC will also employ a rotating crew that will include play-by-play announcers Kenny Albert, John Forslund and Brendan Burke and analysts Eddie Olczyk, AJ Mleczko and Dominic Moore.

STANLEY CUP PREDICTIONS: Sporting News' 2021 NHL playoff picks

How will the NHL playoffs work in 2021?

Here's a quick overview of how the 2021 postseason will work, with every series being a best of seven:

  • Four teams from each division advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs. First-round matchups will be No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in each division.
  • The first-round winners in each division will then face off to determine the division champion.
  • Once the four division winners are crowned, they'll meet in the Stanley Cup semifinals. Seeding for this round will be based on regular-season point totals.
  • The semifinal winners will meet in the Stanley Cup Final. 

NHL playoffs schedule, results by series

(All times Eastern)

Final

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Mon., June 28 at Tampa Bay TBL, 5-1 (TBL leads 1-0)
Wed., June 30 at Tampa Bay TBL, 3-1 (TBL leads 2-0)
Fri., July 2 at Montreal TBL, 6-3 (TBL leads 3-0)
Mon., July 5 at Montreal MTL, 3-2 (OT) (TBL leads 3-1)
Wed., July 7 at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. (NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Fri., July 9 at Montreal 8 p.m. (NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Sat., July 11 at Tampa Bay 7 p.m. (NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)

(* If necessary)

Semifinals

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sun., June 13 at Tampa Bay NYI, 2-1 (NYI leads 1-0)
Tue., June 15 at Tampa Bay TBL, 4-2 (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., June 17 at New York TBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., June 19 at New York NYI, 3-2 (Series tied 2-2)
Mon., June 21 at Tampa Bay TBL, 8-0 (TBL leads 3-2)
Wed., June 23 at New York NYI, 3-2 (OT) (Series tied 3-3)
Fri., June 25 at Tampa Bay TBL, 1-0 (TBL wins series 4-3)

(* If necessary)

Semifinals breakdowns, predictions, odds: TBL vs. NYI | VGK vs. MTL

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens


Video: Lightning Look to Sweep Stanley Cup Final | Ice Breakers (Stadium)

Replay Video
Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Mon., June 14 at Vegas VGK, 4-1 (VGK leads 1-0)
Wed., June 16 at Vegas MTL, 3-2 (Series tied 1-1)
Fri., June 18 at Montreal MTL, 3-2 (OT) (MTL leads 2-1)
Sun., June 20 at Montreal VGK, 2-1 (OT) (Series tied 2-2)
Tue., June 22 at Vegas MTL, 4-1 (MTL leads 3-2)
Thu., June 24 at Montreal MTL, 3-2 (OT) (MTL wins series 4-2)

(* If necessary)

Second round

East Division: (3) Boston Bruins vs. (4) New York Islanders

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sat., May 29 at Boston BOS, 5-2 (BOS leads 1-0)
Mon., May 31 at Boston NYI, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., June 3 at New York BOS, 2-1 (OT) (BOS leads 2-1)
Sat., June 5 at New York NYI, 4-1 (Series tied 2-2)
Mon., June 7 at Boston NYI, 5-4 (NYI leads 3-2)
Wed., June 9 at New York NYI, 6-2 (NYI wins series 4-2)

(* If necessary)

ROUND 2: Predictions, picks, odds & breakdowns for every series

North Division: (3) Winnipeg Jets vs. (4) Montreal Canadiens

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Wed., June 2 at Winnipeg MTL, 5-3 (MTL leads 1-0)
Fri., June 4 at Winnipeg MTL, 1-0 (MTL leads 2-0)
Sun., June 6 at Montreal MTL, 5-1 (MTL leads 3-0)
Mon., June  7 at Montreal MTL, 3-2 (OT) (MTL wins series 4-0)

(* If necessary)

Central Division: (1) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (3) Tampa Bay Lightning

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Result
Sun., May 30 at Carolina TBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 1-0)
Tue., June 1 at Carolina TBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 2-0)
Thu., June 3 at Tampa Bay CAR, 3-2 (OT) (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., June 5 at Tampa Bay TBL, 6-4 (TBL leads 3-1)
Tue., June 8 at Carolina TBL, 2-0 (TBL wins series 4-1)

(* If necessary)

West Division: (1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (2) Vegas Golden Knights

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 30 at Colorado COL, 7-1 (COL leads 1-0)
Wed., June 2 at Colorado COL, 3-2 (OT) (COL leads 2-0)
Fri., June 4 at Vegas VGK, 3-2 (COL leads 2-1)
Sun., June 6 at Vegas VGK, 5-1 (Series tied 2-2)
Tue., June 8 at Colorado VGK, 3-2 (OT) (VGK leads 3-2)
Thu., June 10 at Vegas VGK, 6-3 (VGK wins series 4-2)

(* If necessary)

First round

East Division: (1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) New York Islanders

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 16 at Pittsburgh NYI, 4-3 (OT) (NYI leads 1-0)
Tue., May 18 at Pittsburgh PIT, 2-1 (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., May 20 at New York PIT, 5-4 (PIT leads 2-1)
Sat., May 22 at New York NYI, 4-1 (Series tied 2-2)
Mon., May 24 at Pittsburgh NYI, 3-2 (2OT) (NYI leads 3-2)
Wed., May 26 at New York NYI, 5-3 (NYI wins series 4-2)

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East Division: (2) Washington Capitals vs. (3) Boston Bruins

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sat., May 15 at Washington WSH, 3-2 (OT) (WSH leads 1-0)
Mon., May 17 at Washington BOS, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 1-1)
Wed., May 19 at Boston BOS, 3-2 (2OT) (BOS leads 2-1)
Fri., May 21 at Boston BOS, 4-1 (BOS leads 3-1)
Sun., May 23 at Washington BOS, 3-1 (BOS wins series 4-1)

EAST DIVISION:  Predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

North Division: (1) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Montreal Canadiens

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Thu., May 20 at Toronto MTL, 2-1 (MTL leads 1-0)
Sat., May 22 at Toronto TOR, 5-1 (Series tied 1-1)
Mon., May 24 at Montreal TOR, 2-1 (TOR leads 2-1)
Tue., May 25 at Montreal TOR, 4-0 (TOR leads 3-1)
Thu., May 27 at Toronto MTL, 4-3 (OT) (TOR leads 3-2)
Sat., May 29 at Montreal MTL, 3-2 (OT) (Series tied 3-3)
Mon., May 31 at Toronto MTL, 3-1 (MTL wins series 3-3)

(* If necessary)

North Division: (2) Edmonton Oilers vs. (3) Winnipeg Jets

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Wed., May 19 at Edmonton WPG, 4-1 (WPG leads 1-0)
Fri., May 21 at Edmonton WPG, 1-0 (OT) (WPG leads 2-0)
Sun., May 23 at Winnipeg WPG, 5-4 (OT) (WPG leads 3-0)
Mon., May 24 at Winnipeg WPG, 4-3 (3OT) (WPG wins series 4-0)

North Division: Series predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

Central Division: (1) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (4) Nashville Predators

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Mon., May 17 at Carolina CAR, 5-2 (CAR leads 1-0)
Wed., May 19 at Carolina CAR, 3-0 (CAR leads 2-0)
Fri., May 21 at Nashville NSH, 5-4 (2OT) (CAR leads 2-1)
Sun., May 23 at Nashville NSH, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 2-2)
Tue., May 25 at Carolina CAR, 3-2 (OT) (CAR leads 3-2)
Thu., May 27 at Nashville CAR, 4-3 (OT) (CAR wins series 4-2)

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Central Division: (2) Florida Panthers vs. (3) Tampa Bay Lightning

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 16 at Florida TBL, 5-4 (TBL leads 1-0)
Tue., May 18 at Florida TBL, 3-1 (TBL leads 2-0)
Thu., May 20 at Tampa Bay FLA, 6-5 (OT) (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., May 22 at Tampa Bay TBL, 6-2 (TBL leads 3-1)
Mon., May 24 at Florida FLA, 4-1 (TBL leads 3-2)
Wed., May 26 at Tampa Bay TBL, 4-0 (TBL wins series 4-2)

CENTRAL DIVISION: Predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

West Division: (1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (4) St. Louis Blues

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Mon., May 17 at Colorado COL, 4-1 (COL leads 1-0)
Wed., May 19 at Colorado COL, 6-3 (COL leads 2-0)
Fri., May 21 at St. Louis COL, 5-1 (COL leads 3-0)
Sun., May 23 at St. Louis COL, 5-2 (COL wins series 4-0)

WEST DIVISION: Predictions, odds, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions 

West Division: (2) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (3) Minnesota Wild

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 16 at Vegas MIN, 1-0 (OT) (MIN leads 1-0)
Tue., May 18 at Vegas VGK, 3-1 (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., May 20 at Minnesota VGK, 5-2 (VGK leads 2-1)
Sat., May 22 at Minnesota VGK, 3-0 (VGK leads 3-1)
Mon., May 24 at Vegas MIN, 4-2 (VGK leads 3-2)
Wed., May 26 at Minnesota MIN, 3-0 (Series tied 3-3)
Fri., May 28 at Vegas VGK, 6-2 (VGK wins series 4-3)

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