For the fifth consecutive year, every NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks. This year is the 11th consecutive season that NBC and NBCSN will combine to cover the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and NBC is scheduled to present up to nine primetime games, tied for the most since acquiring NHL television rights in 2005.
During April, May, and June, NBC Sports Group will televise as many as 105 playoff games and possibly more than 260 hours of programming. It all begins one week from today on Wednesday, April 13.
This year is the 11th consecutive season that NBC and NBCSN will combine to cover the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and NBC is scheduled to present up to nine primetime games, tied for the most since acquiring NHL television rights in 2005. This year also marks the first time that NBC will present Stanley Cup Playoff games in primetime immediately following coverage of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Coverage will be presented on NBC, NBCSN and NHL Network, as well as NBCUniversal’s USA Network, the No. 1 cable entertainment network, and CNBC, NBCUniversal’s widely-distributed business channel. USA Network will present NHL Stanley Cup Playoff coverage for the second consecutive season on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, after its return to Stanley Cup Playoff coverage last year for the first time since 1985. CNBC has provided Stanley Cup Playoff coverage since 2012, and will televise games Thursday through Monday nights, when necessary. USA and CNBC will be utilized during first- and second-round coverage only.
NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will provide complete streaming coverage of every game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs that is televised by NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, and CNBC.
Locally, NBC Sports Regional Networks will surround the Blackhawks (CSN Chicago), Capitals (CSN Mid-Atlantic), Bruins (CSN New England), Sharks (CSN California), and Flyers (CSN Philadelphia) with first-round game coverage and in-depth live-event news coverage.* NBCSports.com will provide comprehensive online coverage of the playoffs with online-only video, contributions from Comcast SportsNet insiders, and constant news updates from ProHockeyTalk. (*Contingent upon which teams qualify for the playoffs)
Third Season Of Playoff Format With Emphasis On Brackets For Fans Features Division Rival Matchups
For the third straight season, the NHL is employing a playoff format that features a fixed bracket for fans to fill out and predict who will advance in each round, pitting Division rivals against one another in the first two rounds:
- The top three finishers in each Division automatically qualify and are designated No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds. Among the remaining teams in each Conference, the two teams with the best records qualify as Wild Cards and are designated as Wild Card 1 and Wild Card 2.
- The first two rounds are Divisional brackets. In Round 1, the No. 1 seeds face off against the two Wild Card teams, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from each Division play each other. The winners of those series in each Division then play to advance to the Conference Finals.
- Within each Conference, the Wild Card team with the better record will be assigned to the bracket of the Divisional leader with the lesser record.
- Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the higher seeded team, regardless of regular-season records.
- For the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team with the better regular-season record.
Every first-round Stanley Cup Playoff game will be televised on a national platform.
In order to televise as many as four games on a given day/night, NBC Sports Group will utilize NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and the NHL Network to carry first-round games.
NBCSN will be the primary home of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, offering coverage of one or two games virtually every night of the first round. NBC will present seven exclusive first-round broadcasts during the weekends of April 16-17 and April 23-24, including a Saturday primetime broadcast on Saturday, April 23, at 8 p.m. ET.
USA Network, CNBC, and NHL Network will also provide live coverage in primetime. USA Network will host games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, while CNBC will air games Thursday through Monday nights, when necessary. Games airing on NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and the NHL Network will be subject to local blackouts in the first round. NBC has exclusivity throughout the playoffs.
NBC Sports Group’s Stanley Cup Playoff exclusivity originates with the second round and continues through the Stanley Cup Final. All games will air exclusively on NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, or CNBC.
In addition, for the first time ever, NBC will present a second-round Stanley Cup Playoff game immediately following live coverage of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, at 7:15 p.m. ET. NBC will bookend the Kentucky Derby with a game leading into Derby coverage at 12:30 p.m. ET, comprising 10 consecutive hours of NHL and Kentucky Derby coverage on NBC.
NBCSN will serve as the primary home for second-round coverage, offering one or two games virtually every night. When necessary, USA Network (Tuesday and Wednesday) and CNBC (Thursday through Monday) will provide live coverage in primetime, although less frequently than in the first round.
NBC and NBCSN will provide exclusive coverage of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. For the first time ever, NBC will present a primetime Conference Final game immediately following live coverage of the Preakness Stakes, on Saturday, May 21, at 7:15 p.m. ET. The remaining games from both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be televised exclusively on NBCSN.
Stanley Cup Final
For the 11th consecutive year, NBC and NBCSN will combine to provide exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final. NBCSN will present two Stanley Cup Final games, while NBC will air up to five Stanley Cup Final contests.
Comprehensive pre-game, post-game, and intermission studio programming throughout the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs will originate from NBC Sports Group’s state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center located in Stamford, Conn., except during the Stanley Cup Final, when live studio coverage will originate from the game sites.
During the first round, NBC Sports Group will operate two studio shows. On most weeknights, fans can expect NHL studio programming for games airing on NBCSN and USA Network/CNBC, sometimes simultaneously. NHL Live will usually begin one hour prior to game time, with post-game coverage airing immediately after the final game of the night.
Beginning on Thursday, April 14 at 7 a.m. ET, and continuing nearly every morning throughout the playoffs, NBCSN will air highlights of the previous night’s most exciting games.
Comprehensive Local Coverage
Through the NBC Sports Regional Networks, comprehensive coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be provided daily via NBC Sports Regional Networks, available in more than 43 million U.S. households. NBC Sports Regional Networks serve the hometown fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals*. In-depth coverage for those teams advancing to the postseason includes exclusive regional coverage of first-round games, pre- and post-game shows, and extensive on-line coverage via CSN’s team of NHL Insiders.
For teams that advance past the first round, NBC Sports Regional Networks will deliver extensive pre- and post-game coverage as well as breaking news and analysis throughout each team’s playoff run. (*Contingent upon which teams qualify for the playoffs)