For the first time since 2000, both conference final series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs went to seventh and final games. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 Friday night to clinch the Eastern Conference and the Chicago Blackhawks skated past the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 on Saturday to win the West.
Televised on NBCSN and NBC, respectively, both games drove the most total reactions and Tweets (as measured by Nielsen) of all TV programs each night. While the Blackhawks/Ducks series garnered more overall reactions (182,161 vs. 167,490), Game 7 of the Rangers/Lightning series resulted in more total reactions (60,255 vs. 52,223).
We used Canvs to explore the emotional and social impact of each Game 7 before the puck drops on the first game of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night.
Rangers vs. Lightning
Friday’s 60,255 total reactions were 152% above the Rangers/Lightning series average, with a large spike in activity occurring as the game concluded – more than 27% of the night’s total reactions took place between 10:45 and 10:55 p.m. EDT.
Love (33%), hate (15%), and congrats (15%) reactions comprised the majority of the emotional conversation during the game.
Lightning fans were largely responsible for the large amount of love reactions during the aforementioned 10-minute span, using words like “great,” “happy,” “best,” and “amazing” to describe what they were watching.
In defeat, Ranger fans also helped drive love reactions…albeit with a touch of sadness.
Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ starting goalie, was named in the most total reactions among the players (6,665). Forty-two percent of those reactions were in the love category, while 17% fell into hate, and another 12% were sad reactions. The latter category saw a major spike as the game ended.
Despite recording a shutout in the Rangers’ building, Tampa’s goalie Ben Bishop only drove 2,686 total reactions. Congrats (46%) and love (22%) were used the most to describe his play on the ice, and more than one-fifth of these reactions were Tweeted between 10:50 and 10:55 p.m. EDT.
Blackhawks vs. Ducks
Total reactions about Saturday’s seventh game of the Blackhawks/Ducks series were 101% above the series average, and the 302,475 total Tweets were the most of this year’s playoffs since Game 7 Rangers/Washington Capitals series on May 13.
Love (31%), good (24%), and hate (13%) reactions were used most frequently by hockey fans to describe the action. As we saw in the Rangers/ Lightning game, total reactions were highest immediately after the buzzer; more than 11% of all reactions occurred between 10:55 and 11:00 p.m. EDT.
The next-highest spike in reactions happened between 9:40 and 9:45 p.m. EDT when the Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa scored to make it 4-0. Good and crazy reactions saw peaks during this period.
Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks’ captain, was mentioned in the most total reactions during the night (5,614), with love (37%), good (28%), and hate (13%) driving most of his emotional conversation.
Toews scored Chicago’s first two goals of the night, giving his team momentum that carried through the game.
Chicago and Tampa Bay will begin playing for the 2015 Stanley Cup Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.