NHL Opening Night FaceOff Returns to ESPN and The Walt Disney Company with Historic Doubleheader on October 12


NHL Opening Night FaceOff Returns to ESPN and The Walt Disney Company with Historic Doubleheader on October 12

  • Two-time Defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning Host Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+
  • Seattle Kraken Make Franchise Debut Against Vegas Golden Knights at 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+
  • Opening Week Action Continues October 15 on ESPN+ and Hulu as the Minnesota Wild Face off Against the Anaheim Ducks at 10 p.m. ET


For the first time since 2004, the National Hockey League (NHL) returns to ESPN and The Walt Disney Company with three exclusive national games this week starting with the season opener on October 12.

The 2021 NHL FaceOff will feature a doubleheader on ESPN with the first game showcasing the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning with a banner-raising ceremony at Amalie Arena when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET. Calling the live game action will be play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough, who will be joined by analyst Ray Ferraro and Emily Kaplan reporting from rinkside. Steve Levy and NHL Hall-of-Famers Mark Messier and Chris Chelios will be joined by ESPN veteran analyst Barry Melrose at the desk during intermissions.   

In the second matchup, the Seattle Kraken hope to make a splash when the puck drops for their inaugural season, making their franchise debut at T-Mobile Arena against the 2017-18 expansion Vegas Golden Knights at 10:15 p.m. John Buccigross will handle play-by-play duties, while Brian Boucher will serve as game analyst and A.J. Mlezcko as rinkside analyst. Longtime SportsCenter anchor and In The Crease host Linda Cohn will be joined by Kevin Weekes for analysis during intermissions.

Both FaceOff matchups will be simulcast on ESPN+, before opening week continues on ESPN+ Hockey Night with the Minnesota Wild and Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov taking on the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Friday, October 15, at 10 p.m.  Leah Hextall will call live play-by-play action alongside analyst Brian Boucher, while Linda Cohn will handle reporting duties from Anaheim. Arda Öcal, Ryan Callahan and John Tortorella will handle intermission analysis.

*How to watch NHL games on ESPN, ABC, ESPN+ and Hulu*


The Point
After debuting last week, The Point and host John Buccigross return as part of ESPN’s NHL Opening Week programming. The show moves to daily shows on ESPN from October 12-15. Preceding the 2021 NHL FaceOff doubleheader on October 12, The Point travels to ESPN’s Las Vegas studio for the 3 p.m. ET show, and Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay before the 7 p.m. ET show leading into game coverage. All episodes of The Point will be simulcast live on ESPN+ and will be available for on-demand replay.

In The Crease
New episodes of In The Crease return exclusively to ESPN+ on Oct. 12, and will stream each game day, following the last NHL game of the day. Hosts Linda Cohn and Barry Melrose will offer in-depth analysis, interviews, highlights and more from all the day’s NHL game action.

The Drop
The Drop is a new 30-minute live digital NHL pregame show, streaming on the ESPN App and ESPN’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook platforms ahead of marquee television broadcasts. It debuts October 12 at 7 p.m. ET and will be hosted by Arda Öcal. ESPN hockey writers Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan along with John Buccigross will join the debut episode.


In the Crease – The ESPN NHL Podcast with Linda Cohn and Emily Kaplan
After a successful podcast debut last month, Hall of Fame sportscaster Linda Cohn and national NHL reporter Emily Kaplan will continue to bring fans their insider perspectives, reporting, reactions and analysis to the latest breaking headlines and under the radar stories both on and off the ice with new episodes every Monday and Thursday. How to listen, episode guide.

ESPN Daily Podcast
On Tuesday’s episode of ESPN Daily Podcast, ESPN senior hockey writer Greg Wyshynski breaks down what to watch for this NHL season, bringing fans up to speed as the 2021-22 season gets underway.



ESPN will provide exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the NHL across linear (ESPN Deportes) and digital platforms (ESPN+, ESPN App), starting with the 2021 NHL FaceOff doubleheader on Oct. 12. Both matchups will air on ESPN Deportes. Spanish-language coverage will be handled by ESPN Deportes’ Kenneth Garay and Eitán Benezra on play-by-play and Carlos Rossell and Antonio Valle contributing analysis and color commentary.

Throughout the season, ESPN will air up to 50 regular-season games in Spanish, including the 2021 Thanksgiving Showdown, in addition to the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final, Conference Finals series and Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

ESPN Deportes’ digital coverage of the NHL will feature analysis, commentary, breaking news, video and more across ESPNDeportes.com and the ESPN App leading up to, during and after select games.

@ESPN Deportes will feature NHL related content across its social platforms via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For details including game times and the most up-to-date schedule, please visit espn.com/nhl/schedule.

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Katina Arnold | [email protected] | 860-912-6643
Danny Chi | [email protected] | 213-405-4400
Grace Coryell | [email protected] | 213-405-4402

Paul Melvin | [email protected] | 860-877-8369
Kevin Ota | [email protected] | 860-839-7834
Olivia Wilson | [email protected] | 904-303-3538

Olivia Coryell

Based out of Austin, Texas, Olivia Coryell is a communications manager focusing on ESPN+, The Walt Disney Company's leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. In her time at ESPN, Coryell has worked on communications efforts for X Games, Brand Marketing, Corporate Citizenship, esports and more. Coryell is a proud graduate of Florida State University.
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