It’s been a difficult year for sports but thankfully, the 2020 Stanley Cup will be going ahead as planned. Between now and August 23, 16 of the NHL’s best-performing teams will go head-to-head for their place in the second round. Below, we’ll explain how to watch every Stanley Cup playoff for free, wherever you are in the world.

It’s important to note that we’ll only be recommending official sources. Major sporting events like the Stanley Cup are often available on shady streaming sites, but we suggest you only use properly licensed sources. Official broadcasters have higher quality video and there’s no chance of the stream being taken offline for copyright violation partway through. You can watch every 2020 Stanley Cup playoff for free anyway, so there’s no need to use unauthorized streams.

Most of the streaming services showing this tournament are region-locked. This means that you’ll need a VPN to use them while traveling abroad.

How to stream the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs abroad with a VPN

Unblocking geo-restricted services is easy, even if you’ve never used a Virtual Private Network (VPN) before. Follow the steps below to bypass regional restrictions and watch the 2020 Stanley Cup from anywhere.

Here’s how to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs online from anywhere:

  1. Start by signing up for a VPN if you haven’t already. We recommend ExpressVPN although NordVPN and Surfshark are two excellent, low-cost alternatives.
  2. Next, download and install the software, taking care to get the right version for your operating system.
  3. Decide which geo-blocked platform you’d like to access abroad.
  4. Connect to a VPN server in the appropriate country. For instance, fuboTV is only available in the US, so you’d use an American server to unblock it.
  5. Try playing a video on your chosen service. It should begin immediately but if it doesn’t, you can fix most issues by clearing your cache and cookies, then refreshing the page.

These matches will be broadcast live, which is why we recommend making sure your VPN works well before they begin. This way, if you run into any problems, you should still have time to get help from your VPN’s customer support team and might not have to miss the start of a highly important game.

How to watch the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs free on US TV

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The vast majority of 2020 Stanley Cup fixtures will be available live on NBC SportsHowever, some will be exclusive to USA and the NHL Network.

If your cable plan already includes NBC Sports, you’ll be able to watch online at no added cost. Alternatively, users can sign in with their fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, or YouTube TV accounts. Better still, each of these services comes with a free trial period that’s long enough for you to stream every playoff fixture. In fact, Hulu’s trial lasts for 30 days, meaning that as long as you cancel in time, you’ll also be able to watch the Stanley Cup finals for free.

The platforms above are all geo-restricted, meaning you’ll have to either be in the US or using a US VPN server to access them. Don’t have a VPN yet? ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try it risk-free. If you’re unsatisfied or only needed ExpressVPN to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, you can simply cancel to receive a full refund.

Where else can I stream the Stanley Cup?

Canada

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In Canada, Sportsnet and CBC Sports are sharing English-language coverage rights to the Stanley Cup. TVA Sports, meanwhile, is the exclusive French-language broadcaster.

Sportsnet and TVA Sports both allow you to log in and stream their games for free if the respective channels are included in your cable TV subscription. If not, you can sign up for a digital subscription instead (both services cost $19.99 CAD per month, and neither offers any trial period). CBC Sports, on the other hand, will show selected fixtures free-of-charge via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android.

Sportsnet, CBC Sports, and TVA Sports are only available in Canada. As such, you’ll need a VPN to log in from abroad.

UK

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Premier Sports is the only platform showing the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs in the UK. If you’d like, you can add these channels to your existing Sky or Virgin TV subscription (and watch online using the Sky Go or Virgin TV Go apps) but the easiest way for most people to stream the playoffs is to sign up for the Premier Player plan. This costs £9.99 per month but unfortunately, there’s no free trial.

This service is region-locked and can only be accessed from within the UK. However, subscribers can log in from abroad by connecting to a British VPN server first.

Other locations

There’s no need to worry if we haven’t mentioned your country above. NHL.tv will be showing every Stanley Cup playoff game and the entire final stage live in over 50 countries including Germany, Australia, France, Spain, and Italy. Although there’s no free trial, at $9.99 USD per season, this service is very reasonably priced.

How does the Stanley Cup work?

The Stanley Cup format is pretty straightforward. Sixteen NHL teams qualify for the first round, and take part in best-of-seven matches until only four remain from both the Eastern and Western conferences. The winners from round one then repeat this process until there are just two teams left.

These then move into the final round. The first team to win four games wins the Stanley Cup and the players receive championship rings. Note that the tournament ends the moment a team wins their fourth match; in other words, there’s no guarantee that all seven games will be played.

It’s also worth mentioning that these matches cannot end in a tie. If the score is level at the end of play, the teams will play an unlimited number of 20-minute, five-man overtime periods until one scores. This usually only lasts a few periods at most, but there have been two games in Stanley Cup history (Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Maroons and Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins) which required as many as six.