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

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.

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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

(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: Stock Market Pioneer’ 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)

Semifinal

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Sun., June 13at Tampa BayNYI, 2-1 (NYI leads 1-0)
Tues., June 15at Tampa BayTBL, 4-2 (Series tied 1-1)
Thurs., June 17at New YorkTBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., June 19at New York8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Mon., June 21at Tampa Bay8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Wed., June 23at New York8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Fri., June 25at Tampa Bay8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)

(* If necessary)

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

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Mon., June 14at VegasVGK, 4-1 (VGK leads 1-0)
Wed., June 16at VegasMTL, 3-2 (Series tied 1-1)
Fri., June 18at Montreal8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Sun., June 20at Montreal8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Tues., June 22at Vegas9 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports)
*Thurs., June 24at Montreal8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Sat., June 26at Vegas8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)

(* If necessary)

Second round

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Sat., May 29at BostonBOS, 5-2 (BOS leads 1-0)
Mon., May 31at BostonNYI, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., June 3at New YorkBOS, 2-1 (OT) (BOS leads 2-1)
Sat., June 5at New YorkNYI, 4-1 (Series tied 2-2)
Mon., June 7at BostonNYI, 5-4 (NYI leads 3-2)
Wed., June 9at New YorkNYI, 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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Wed., June 2at WinnipegMTL, 5-3 (MTL leads 1-0)
Fri., June 4at WinnipegMTL, 1-0 (MTL leads 2-0)
Sun., June 6at MontrealMTL, 5-1 (MTL leads 3-0)
Mon., June  7at MontrealMTL, 3-2 (OT) (MTL wins series 4-0)

(* If necessary)

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Result
Sun., May 30at CarolinaTBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 1-0)
Tue., June 1at CarolinaTBL, 2-1 (TBL leads 2-0)
Thu., June 3at Tampa BayCAR, 3-2 (OT) (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., June 5at Tampa BayTBL, 6-4 (TBL leads 3-1)
Tue., June 8at CarolinaTBL, 2-0 (TBL wins series 4-1)

(* If necessary)

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

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

(* If necessary)

First round

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 16at PittsburghNYI, 4-3 (OT) (NYI leads 1-0)
Tue., May 18at PittsburghPIT, 2-1 (Series tied 1-1)
Thu., May 20at New YorkPIT, 5-4 (PIT leads 2-1)
Sat., May 22at New YorkNYI, 4-1 (Series tied 2-2)
Mon., May 24at PittsburghNYI, 3-2 (2OT) (NYI leads 3-2)
Wed., May 26at New YorkNYI, 5-3 (NYI wins series 4-2)

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Sat., May 15at WashingtonWSH, 3-2 (OT) (WSH leads 1-0)
Mon., May 17at WashingtonBOS, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 1-1)
Wed., May 19at BostonBOS, 3-2 (2OT) (BOS leads 2-1)
Fri., May 21at BostonBOS, 4-1 (BOS leads 3-1)
Sun., May 23at WashingtonBOS, 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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Thu., May 20at TorontoMTL, 2-1 (MTL leads 1-0)
Sat., May 22at TorontoTOR, 5-1 (Series tied 1-1)
Mon., May 24at MontrealTOR, 2-1 (TOR leads 2-1)
Tue., May 25at MontrealTOR, 4-0 (TOR leads 3-1)
Thu., May 27at TorontoMTL, 4-3 (OT) (TOR leads 3-2)
Sat., May 29at MontrealMTL, 3-2 (OT) (Series tied 3-3)
Mon., May 31at TorontoMTL, 3-1 (MTL wins series 3-3)

(* If necessary)

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

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

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Mon., May 17at CarolinaCAR, 5-2 (CAR leads 1-0)
Wed., May 19at CarolinaCAR, 3-0 (CAR leads 2-0)
Fri., May 21at NashvilleNSH, 5-4 (2OT) (CAR leads 2-1)
Sun., May 23at NashvilleNSH, 4-3 (OT) (Series tied 2-2)
Tue., May 25at CarolinaCAR, 3-2 (OT) (CAR leads 3-2)
Thu., May 27at NashvilleCAR, 4-3 (OT) (CAR wins series 4-2)

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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Sun., May 16at FloridaTBL, 5-4 (TBL leads 1-0)
Tue., May 18at FloridaTBL, 3-1 (TBL leads 2-0)
Thu., May 20at Tampa BayFLA, 6-5 (OT) (TBL leads 2-1)
Sat., May 22at Tampa BayTBL, 6-2 (TBL leads 3-1)
Mon., May 24at FloridaFLA, 4-1 (TBL leads 3-2)
Wed., May 26at Tampa BayTBL, 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

DateMatchupTime (TV channel)/Results
Mon., May 17at ColoradoCOL, 4-1 (COL leads 1-0)
Wed., May 19at ColoradoCOL, 6-3 (COL leads 2-0)
Fri., May 21at St. LouisCOL, 5-1 (COL leads 3-0)
Sun., May 23at St. LouisCOL, 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

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

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