Welcome to the NHL, Seattle!

The NHL’s newest team, the Kraken, will hit the ice in Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights on opening night. Before things get underway at T-Mobile Arena, the Lightning will take on the Penguins in Florida. The games mark the return of ESPN as the league’s broadcaster. 

What to expect from the Kraken in 2021-22 is anyone’s guess. Will they be like expansion teams of yore, who struggled mightily against the more established clubs? Or will they be more like their first opponent, the Golden Knights, who went to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year? Time will tell but the team did make some big moves already including signing free agents Jaden Schwartz and Philipp Grubauer and naming Mark Giordano the franchise’s first captain.

NHL 2021-22: How to watch games | Opening games schedule

In the opening act on opening day, the defending champs will take on a Penguins crew that is expected to be missing Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain underwent wrist surgery in September and while he skated over the weekend he’s not scheduled to return just yet. 

Here’s everything you need to know to watch the first games of the 2021-22 NHL season.

MORE: Watch NHL games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial) 

What channel Kraken vs. Golden Knights on?

  • Date: Tues., Oct. 12
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN (U.S.) | SN, TVAS (Canada)
  • StreamESPN+ (U.S.) | fuboTV | SN NOW (Canada)

In the night capper for th NHL’s return to ESPN, the Golden Knights will host the Kraken in their first-ever game. Play-by-play duties will be done by John Buccigross with analyst Brian Boucher and rinkside reporter AJ Mleczko. Linda Cohn and Kevin Weekes will be in studio. 

NHL 2021-22: Top 10 defensemen | Top 10 goalies | Top 10 forwards | Top 25 under 25

How to watch NHL opening night on ESPN

  • Date: Tues., Oct. 12
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN (U.S.) | SN, TVAS (Canada)
  • StreamESPN+ (U.S.) | fuboTV | SN NOW (Canada)

The Lightning will raise their latest Stanley Cup banner before hosting the Penguins to kick off the NHL’s return to ESPN. Sean McDonough will do the play-by-play alongside analyst Ray Ferraro and rinkside reporter Emily Kaplan. Steve Levy will host the studio coverage with analysts Mark Messier, Chris Chelios and Barry Melrose.

ESPN NHL schedule 2021-22

ESPN will televise games nationally on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. On opening night, ESPN will have a doubleheader of games.


* Game also on ESPN+.

Date Matchup Time (ET)
Tues., Oct. 12 Penguins at Lightning 7:30 p.m.*
Tues., Oct. 12 Kraken at Golden Knights 10 p.m.*
Tues., Oct. 19 Islanders at Blackhawks 8 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 26 Golden Knights at Avalanche 8 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 6 Wild at Bruins 7 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 13 Flyers at Bruins 7 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 20 Avalanche at Kings 9:30 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 24 Capitals at Rangers 7 p.m.
Thurs., March 3 Bruins at Golden Knights 9 p.m.
Thurs., March 24 Stars at Hurricanes 7 p.m.
Tues., April 12 Flyers at Capitals 7 p.m.
Tues., April 12 Lightning vs. Stars 9:30 p.m.
Thurs., April 14 Wild at Stars 8 p.m.
Tues., April 19 Kings at Ducks 10 p.m.
Thurs., April 21 Maple Leafs at Lightning 8 p.m.
Thurs., April 21 Blues at Sharks 10:30 p.m.
Tues., April 26 Islanders at Capitals 7 p.m.
Tues., April 26 Blues at Avalanche 9:30 p.m.

ODDS, SN’S PREDICTIONS: Standings, Stanley Cup | Calder | Vezina | Norris | Hart 

What NHL games will be on ABC in 2021-22?

The following games will also be on ESPN+:

Date Matchup Time (ET)
Fri., Nov. 26 Blues at Blackhawks 1 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 26 Rangers at Penguins 3 p.m.
Sat., March 5 Blackhawks at Flyers 3 p.m.
Sat., March 12 Flyers at Hurricanes 3 p.m.
Sat., March 19 Rangers at Lightning 8 p.m.
Sat., March 26 Blackhawks at Golden Knights 3 p.m.
Sat., April 2 Penguins at Avalanche 3 p.m.
Sat., April 9 Capitals at Penguins 3 p.m.
Sat., April 16 Wild at Blues 3 p.m.
Sat., April 23 Rangers at Bruins 3 p.m.

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