Your Announcers and Open Thread for Day 18 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1, 3:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): NBC
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

National TV (Canada): CBC
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

Nashville vs. Vancouver, Game 2, 9:00 p.m. ET

National TV (Canada): CBC
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Scott Oake

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 17 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa Bay vs. Washington, Game 1, 7:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Joe Micheletti

National TV (Canada): TSN
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 1, 10:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): VERSUS

National TV (Canada): TSN
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

NHL Celebrates Best 1st Round in Seven Years on Broadcast, 16 Years on Cable

NEW YORK (April 29, 2011) – History was made, on and off the ice, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The National Hockey League, on the heels of announcing the most significant media rights deal in its history, continues to reach new heights across multiple platforms while earning praise from fans and critics alike.

One of the most exciting and compelling Conference Quarterfinal rounds in Stanley Cup Playoff history, highlighted by nine straight days of overtime games, four Game 7s (the most in the first round in 16 years), and 49 total games (tied for the most ever), led to ratings increases and milestones at both the national and local levels, along with record Internet traffic on NHL.com. The first round, which the New York Times hailed as a round “that had everything,” and a “tough act to follow,” also scored in-arena with every arena at 100 percent capacity, achieving an all-time record for average attendance for the first round.

VERSUS achieved the highest U.S. cable viewership for the first round in 17 years, dating back to the 1994 postseason, while on the broadcast side, NBC scored the best U.S. network opening-round audience in seven years. In Canada, CBC’s coverage recorded the best opening round viewership in history, ahead of the previous best in 2004 when five of the six Canadian teams made the playoffs.

Below are some of the first-round highlights:

NATIONAL TELEVISION MILESTONES

NBC: The network earned the best opening-round viewership in seven years, averaging 1.9 million viewers for its four games, a 12 percent increase over last year. The coverage was highlighted by last Sunday’s Game 6 Philadelphia-Buffalo broadcast, which was the most-watched NHL non-Conference Final game in the U.S. in 12 years. The game averaged 2.57 million viewers, up 44 percent over last year’s comparable telecast (Phoenix-Detroit, 1.78 million).

VERSUS: Coverage of the Conference Quarterfinals, which averaged 624,000 viewers, was the most-watched ever on VERSUS, up eight percent from last year’s first round (595,000) and the most-watched on cable in 17 years. It was also the most-watched Quarterfinals for key male demos in eight years, including the best among Men 18-49 in a decade (2001).

CBC: CBC recorded the highest average viewership in its history for the opening round of the playoffs with 2.148 million viewers for 22 first-round broadcasts, up 49 percent over last year. The total surpassed the previous best set in 2004 when five of six Canadian teams made the playoffs. The record was highlighted by the drama-filled Chicago-Vancouver Game 7 overtime classic, which scored the second-best Conference Quarterfinal viewership in 11 years, 3.827 million viewers.

RDS: Playoffs to date, RDS is averaging 616,000 viewers through 31 telecasts, up 10 percent from last year’s average (558,000 viewers). Average viewership for the Montreal vs. Boston series was 1,791,000 viewers for its seven games, an 18 percent increase over last year’s 7 games series against Washington.

REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORK MILESTONES

· NESN’s coverage of the Boston Bruins’ Game 7 overtime victory over Montreal delivered a 17.7 local rating in Boston, a record for any Bruins playoff game on NESN. Overall, NESN’s first-round ratings were up 69 percent over last year.

· The three highest-rated Blackhawks games in Comcast SportsNet Chicago history occurred during the Blackhawks’ seven-game series against the Canucks. The highpoint was Game 7, which averaged a 13.5 rating locally (474,000 households).

· The deciding Game 7 against the Sabres was the highest-rated Flyers game in Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia history, delivering a 12.6 average rating (380,000 households).

· Fox Sports South’s coverage of the Nashville Predators’ Game 6 clinching victory posted a 3.6 local rating, marking the second-highest rating for a Predators playoff game ever on the network.

· The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game 7 clincher on Sunshine delivered a 4.5 local rating, the highest rating for a Lighting playoff game on Sunshine in eight years.

· The Capitals first-round series against the Rangers became the highest-rated Capitals playoff series in Comcast SportsNet Washington history, averaging 5.7 in the DC DMA (and a 2.6 Baltimore DMA average) for a combined average local audience of 165,000 households. The series also included the second-highest rated Caps game in Comcast SportsNet history.

· Buffalo led all markets by averaging an 18.8 locally on MSG (6 games) followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, which averaged a 16.5 on ROOT (7 games).

NHL.COM*

NHL.com also benefited from the on-ice excitement, with April scoring the most unique visitors in any one month in the site’s history, up 32 percent over April 2010 and up 47 percent over 2010-11 monthly average. Wednesday, April 27, earned the third most unique visitors to NHL.com with two Game 7s being played.

For the playoffs, unique visitors have increased by 25 percent year-over-over while video starts are up 57 percent. U.S. traffic has increased by 25 percent, Canada by 24 percent. Finland leads all European nations in terms of traffic and has shown a 36 percent rise over 2010, followed by Germany (+36 percent) and Sweden (+26 percent). Interestingly, traffic from “down under” has shown significant growth with Australia up 36 percent.

In the U.S., some of the NHL markets with significant increases in unique visitors for the first round of the playoffs are: Tampa (+111 percent); Nashville (+81 percent); Atlanta (+38 percent); New York (+37 percent); Buffalo (+36 percent); Chicago (+36 percent); San Francisco/San Jose (+30 percent); Philadelphia (+28 percent); Los Angeles (+31 percent); Washington D.C. (+27 percent); and Detroit (+24 percent).

In Canada, five of the six NHL markets have achieved double-digit traffic growth.

*Source: Omniture

MERCHANDISE

For the first round of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, in-arena merchandise sales volume and per cap sales increased 19% compared to the first round of 2010 (equal # of games played – 49).

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

“I’ve been covering the playoffs since ’81, and I can’t remember a first-round series that had that kind of emotion.” – Veteran TSN analyst Bob McKenzie

“The NHL’s slogan for the Stanley Cup playoffs is, History Will Be Made, a maxim that has never been more true than during this year’s first round.” – Sports Illustrated

“Year after year, especially over the past decade, the Stanley Cup playoffs teach us one paramount lesson: Expect the unexpected.” – ESPN.com

“There is no way the second round can be as exciting as the first. Is there?” – New York Times

“It doesn’t feel like a stretch to say that was the best first-round playoff game in NHL history.” – Globe & Mail on Chicago-Vancouver Game 7

“The quality of play throughout round 1 has been almost universally high. We’ve been treated to some very exciting hockey so far and that shows no signs of changing.” – Huffington Post

“Every NHL playoff game now is like a fundamentalist revival or something, every row of the upper and lower bowls converted into pews where the worshipers all wear white (Phoenix), orange (Philly), red (Detroit, Washington), white (Pittsburgh) or black (Boston). The games aren’t games anymore in the playoffs, they are full-on Events.” – Denver Post

“The first round of the 2011 NHL playoffs was quite possibly the best in the history of hockey. Comebacks, overtime intrigue, the typical wars of words, goaltending problems. It really had everything.” – SB Nation

Ratings For the Stanley Cup Playoffs on VERSUS By Night and By Series

I thought we’d organize everything into this one post. You’ll get night-by-night Stanley Cup Playoffs ratings first, then we’ll break it down by series, but only including full broadcasts (or at least scheduled to be full broadcasts) and not joined in progress games. Enjoy.

Night-by-Night

Wednesday, April 13

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 149,000 viewers
7:00 p.m.  Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 1 – 484,000 viewers
9:44 p.m.  NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 1 – 673,000 viewers
10:38 p.m.  Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 1 – 540,000 viewers
12:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 168,000 viewers

Thursday, April 14

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 62,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 1 – 510,000 viewers
9:35 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 1 – 660,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 1 – 381,000 viewers
1:25 a.m. Hockey Central – 121,000 viewers

Friday, April 15

7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 183,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2 – 606,000 viewers
10:09 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 2 – 562,000 viewers
12:35 a.m. Hockey Central – 181,000 viewers

Saturday, April 16

7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 2 – 661,000 viewers
9:51 p.m. Hockey Central – 444,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 2 – 457,000 viewers
12:42 p.m. Hockey Central – 236,000 viewers

Sunday, April 17

 7:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 244,000 viewers
8:00 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 3 – 689,000 viewers
10:43 p.m. Hockey Central – 186,000 viewers

Monday, April 18

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 83,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 3 – 572,000 viewers
9:46 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 3 – 512,000 viewers
10:21 p.m. Hockey Central – 390,000 viewers
10:30 p.m. Detroit vs. Phoenix, Game 3 – 415,000 viewers
1:41 a.m. Hockey Central – 135,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 19

7:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 132,000 viewers
8:00 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 4 – 621,000 viewers
10:44 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 3 – 300,000 viewers
1:41 a.m. Hockey Central – 79,000 viewers

Wednesday, April 20

6:30 p.m. ET Hockey Central – 52,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. ET Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 – 619,000 viewers
11:02 p.m. ET Detroit vs. Phoenix, Game 4 – 491,000 viewers
1:14 a.m. ET Hockey Central – 133,000 viewers

Thursday, April 21

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 66,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Boston vs. Montreal, Game 4 – 599,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 5 – 590,000 viewers
12:37 a.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 4 – 316,000 viewers
1:21 a.m. Hockey Central – 266,000 viewers

Friday, April, 22

7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 270,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 5 – 
931,000 viewers
10:36 p.m. Nashville vs. Anaheim, Game 5 – 428,000 viewers
1:04 a.m. Hockey Central – 185,000 viewers

Saturday, April 23
12:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5 – 
391,000 viewers
2:48 p.m. Hockey Central – 355,000 viewers
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 129,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 – 841,000 viewers
11:06 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 5 – 455,000 viewers
1:10 a.m. Hockey Central – 208,000 viewers

Sunday, April 24
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 
296,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago – 
1,157,000 viewers
10:59 p.m. Hockey Central – 416,000 viewers

Monday, April 25
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 
75,000
7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 – 719,000 viewers
9:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 667,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 6 – 446,000 viewers
1:07 a.m. Hockey Central – 188,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 26
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central –
300,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 – 
984,000 viewers
10:19 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 – 1,135,000 viewers
1:00 a.m. Hockey Central – 283,000 viewers

Wednesday, April 27
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 7 – 
926,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 7 – 1,500,000 viewers

By series

Eastern Conference

#8 NY Rangers vs. #1 Washington  

Game 2 (4/15/11): 606,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/20/11): 619,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11, NBC): 1,553,000 viewers

#7 Buffalo vs. #2 Philadelphia

Game 3 (4/18/11): 572,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/22/11): 931,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/24/11 on NBC): 2,567,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/26/11): 984,000 viewers

#6 Montreal vs. #3 Boston

Game 1 (4/14/11): 510,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/16/11): 661,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/21/11): 599,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11): 841,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/27/11): 926,000 viewers

#5 Tampa Bay vs. #4 Pittsburgh

Game 5 (4/23/11): 391,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/25/11): 719,000 viewers

Western Conference

#8 Vancouver vs. #1 Chicago

Game 1 (4/13/11): 540,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/15/11):
562,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/17/11): 
689,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/19/11):
621,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/21/11):
590,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/24/11):
1,157,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/26/11):
1,130,000 viwers

#7 Los Angeles vs. #2 San Jose

Game 1 (4/14/11): 381,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/16/11): 457,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/19/11): 300,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11): 455,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/25/11): 446,000 viewers

#6 Phoenix vs. #3 Detroit

Game 1 (4/13/11): 484,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/18/11): 415,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/20/11):
491,000 viewers

#5 Nashville vs. #4 Anaheim

Game 5 (4/22/11): 428,000 viewers

Ratings For Nights 11-15 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Plus The Final Top 10 Games of Round 1

As always, an updated Top 10 as well.

Saturday, April 23
12:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5 –
391,000 viewers
2:48 p.m. Hockey Central – 355,000 viewers
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 129,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 – 841,000 viewers
11:06 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 5 – 455,000 viewers
1:10 a.m. Hockey Central – 208,000 viewers

Sunday, April 24
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central –
296,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago –
1,157,000 viewers
10:59 p.m. Hockey Central – 416,000 viewers

Monday, April 25
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central –
75,000
7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 – 719,000 viewers
9:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 667,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 6 – 446,000 viewers
1:07 a.m. Hockey Central – 188,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 26
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central -
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 –
984,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 – 1,135,000 viewers
1:00 a.m. Hockey Central - 

Wednesday, April 27
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 7 –
926,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 7 – 1,500,000 viewers

Top 10

1. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 6 (4/24/11) – 1,157,000 viewers
2. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 1,130,000 viewers
3. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 984,000 viewers
4. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 5 (4/22/11) – 
931,000 viewers
5. Boston vs. Montreal, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 926,000 viewers
5. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 (4/23/11) – 841,000 viewers
6. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 (4/25/11) – 719,000 viewers
7. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 3 (4/17/11) – 689,000 viewers
8. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 2 (4/16/11) – 661,000 viewers
9. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 4 (4/19/11) – 621,000 viewers
10. Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 (4/20/11) – 619,000 viewers

(Source: Son of the Bronx for Nights 11-13, VERSUS for nights 14-15)

Topic of Discussion: The NHL Moves Out Of Typical Hours To Allow For Doubleheaders

This is the schedule for the two games on Tuesday, May 3rd:

6:30 p.m. ET Washington vs. Tampa Bay, Game 3
9:00 p.m. ET Vancouver vs. Nashville, Game 3

I’d like to start a discussion in the comments on this one. Do you feel the NHL is smart to finally figure out what the NBA’s been doing for years, that you can avoid the typical 7/7:30 local time start to create more doubleheaders? Should Vancouver/Nashville have moved to 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT instead? If you’re a fan of the Predators, Caps or Lightning, what’s your opinion? If you aren’t, how would you feel as either a ticket holder or a viewer about this being done to your team? I’m a little burnt out on the week, so I felt like just starting a conversation for the rest of the day.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 16 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Nashville vs. Vancouver, Game 1, 9:00 p.m. ET

National TV (Canada): CBC
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Scott Oake

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

NESN Hits Record Numbers For Game 7

BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, set a new single-game ratings record for Bruins hockey last night with a 17.7 average household rating in the Boston DMA. The game peaked at a 26.6 rating during the 10:00 PM quarter hour as Nathan Horton scored the game winner in overtime to propel the Bruins into the Eastern Conference Semifinals. NESN’s previous best-ever single-game hockey rating was a 14.1, set two years ago on May 14, 2009 in a Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

NESN’s ratings numbers in most of the key demographic categories also set new network records, including a 21.5 in Men 25-54, 18.3 in Men 18-49, and 15.6 in Adults 25-54.

Best Playoff Series in NESN History

NESN’s coverage of the Bruins-Montreal first round playoff series dominated the Boston television market over the past 2 weeks. NESN’s 7 telecasts averaged an 11.9 household rating, which made it the highest-rated Bruins playoff series in network history. NESN’s Bruins coverage was the top-rated program in the Boston DMA on 4 of the 7 nights. The previous ratings record for a series was set in 2009, when NESN garnered a 9.9 average household rating for the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Playoff Pre and Post-Game Shows Also Enjoy Ratings Success

NESN’s ratings success extended beyond the games with impressive pre and post-game ratings throughout the series. Bruins FaceOff LIVE expanded to 60 minutes for the first round of the playoffs and averaged a 2.1 household rating during the series, including a 2.7 before last night’s deciding game. NESN’s post-game show, Bruins Overtime LIVE, averaged a 4.1 household rating that was highlighted by an 8.4 after the Bruins’ exciting Game 7 victory.

“The Bruins have captured the imagination of the region and are playing with an incredible amount of heart, which translates into great television,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “Even though the number of games we will televise in round 2 will decrease due to national network selections, we will continue to provide enhanced and expanded coverage around every Bruins playoff game.”

NESN is scheduled to deliver exclusive regional coverage of Game 4 along with Games 6 and 7 if necessary. Details on NESN’s coverage plans for the entire series will be announced tomorrow.

Penguins To Stay With ROOT Sports Until Sidney Crosby Is 41

ROOT SPORTS and the Pittsburgh Penguins have reached agreement on a long-term television rights deal through the 2028-29 season.

Under the agreement, ROOT SPORTS will be the exclusive rightsholder for Penguins’ regional telecasts and will televise a minimum of 70 regular season games each season. The network also will have the opportunity to carry pre-season and playoff games. All games will be produced and distributed in high definition.

Ratings for Penguins games on ROOT SPORTS have led the NHL’s local TV ratings in the United States for four straight seasons. This season, they achieved a new record with an average rating of 8.68.

“We value our relationship with the Penguins organization and its fans,” said Mark Shuken, president and CEO of DIRECTV Sports Networks, the parent company of ROOT SPORTS. “The passion and following of the Penguins’ fan base consistently rank among the highest in the NHL and that support is evident in our record-setting television ratings over the past four seasons. We are proud to continue our partnership with such a distinguished franchise.”

The long-term television deal comes during a season when the Penguins opened the new CONSOL Energy Center, reached agreement with eight founding corporate partners at the new arena, extended their sellout streak to more than 200 games and sold out all suites and club seats.

“This agreement with our partners at ROOT SPORTS means the future of Penguins hockey in Pittsburgh has never been brighter,” said David Morehouse, CEO and president of the team. “Together, we have been able to lead the NHL in local television ratings in the United States, and we look forward to building on those numbers with ROOT SPORTS creative style and commitment to cutting-edge technology. Combined with our long-term naming rights agreement with CONSOL Energy, and the support of our eight founding partners and 15,000 season ticket holders, we’ve developed a very strong foundation for future success.”

In addition to live and replayed games during each season, ROOT SPORTS will continue to provide a comprehensive and compelling lineup of hockey-related programming – with unique access to the team and its players. In the off-season, ROOT SPORTS will continue to carry original specials focusing on current and former Penguins players and teams.

The 2010-11 season marks the 25th year of the partnership between Pittsburgh’s exclusive regional sports network and the Penguins. Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey are the voices bringing Penguins hockey to more than 2.4 million cable and satellite homes in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland on ROOT SPORTS.

NBC Sports Group Announces Round 2 Coverage, NBC Sends a Second Broadcast Team To San Jose

Other than Hockey Day in America, this will be the first time NBC has used a second broadcast team since April of 2007:

NEW YORK (April 28, 2011)– The NBC Sports Group continues its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven Conference Semifinal games over the next four days on NBC and VERSUS. The hockey action begins tonight on VERSUS with an exclusive telecast of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks at 9 p.m. ET. Semifinal coverage continues on VERSUS tomorrow night with a double-header featuring Game 1 of the Tampa Bay-Washington series at 7 p.m. ET, the network’s first exclusive game of the playoffs, followed by Game 1 of the Detroit-San Jose series at 10 p.m. ET. Additionally, NBC and VERSUS will air four exclusive games over the weekend, including Game 1 of Boston-Philadelphia this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

During the Conference Semifinal round, VERSUS will air at least two exclusive games per series in addition to non-exclusive games. The non-exclusive telecasts will be subject to local blackouts, but can be found on their local regional networks, including Comcast SportsNet California, Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia which will televise all of their teams’ games in the Semifinal round, except for games chosen to air exclusively on VERSUS or NBC. NBC will air two exclusive games per weekend throughout the Semifinals. VERSUS will share exclusive coverage with NBC of both Conference Finals series. Coverage will culminate with exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final in primetime in June with NBC broadcasting Games 1-2 and 5-7 (if necessary), and VERSUS presenting exclusive coverage of Games 3 and 4.

THIS WEEK:

NBC SPORTS: Coverage starts this Saturday with Eastern Conference action between the Bruins and the Flyers in Game 1 of their series at 3 p.m. ET. On Sunday, NBC Sports presents Game 2 of the Western Conference series between the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks at 3 p.m. ET.

Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play) and Eddie Olczyk (analyst) anchor NBC Sports’ coverage on Saturday with Pierre McGuire serving as inside-the-glass analyst. NBC’s studio show will feature host Liam McHugh and analyst Mike Milbury. Sunday’s coverage will be helmed by Dave Strader (play-by-play) with Joe Micheletti (analyst) and Darren Pang calling the action from inside-the-glass. McHugh and Milbury will be joined by McGuire in the studio for Sunday’s telecast.

VERSUS: Playoff coverage begins tonight with exclusive coverage of Game 1 of the Nashville Predators-Vancouver Canucks series. VERSUS’ Friday night telecast includes a double-header with exclusive coverage of Game 1 of the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the San Jose Sharks hosting the Detroit Red Wings at 10 p.m. ET.

VERSUS closes out the week with two exclusive games over the weekend beginning with Game 2 of the Nashville-Vancouver series on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET and Game 2 between Tampa Bay-Washington on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. (See below for complete Semifinal schedule).

DIGITAL: NBCSports.com and VERSUS.com have combined forces to create a single, robust destination for hockey fans during the NHL Playoffs. The NBC Sports Group consolidated NHL content from both the NBCSports.com and VERSUS.com’s hockey sections onto the rapidly-growing NBCSports.com site. One of the key content areas is ProHockeyTalk, one of NBCSports.com’s popular “Sports Talk” platforms that also include ProFootballTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, HardBallTalk, ProBasketballTalk and ProGolfTalk.

During the playoffs on NBCSports.com, fans can follow all the NHL Playoffs action with live streaming of NBC games, NHL videos, cross-platform promotions, social media and more. Some of the features on NBCSports.com include:

Online-only videos featuring VERSUS and NBC Sports hockey commentators previewing upcoming playoff games and wrapping-up all of the NHL action that day.

“Star-Cam,” which follows marquee players in NBC games, and “Net-Cam,” which provides a unique perspective from behind the goalie.

ProHockeyTalk, which recently had its most-trafficked month ever, will update NHL Playoff news around the clock.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Fans can also keep up with the NHL playoffs through a variety of NBC Sports and VERSUS social media platforms throughout the postseason. Content will include:

Behind the Scenes: Through the joint “NHL on NBC and VERSUS” Facebook page and @NHLonNBC_VS on Twitter, fans receive exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, interviews and video.

Commentator Tweets: Various NBC and VERSUS commentators will provide Twitter content throughout the playoffs, including occasional in-game Tweets.

Fan Questions: Fans will have the opportunity to ask questions to NBC and VERSUS commentators via Facebook and Twitter.

Team Tabs: Fans who “Like” the joint NBC and VERSUS Facebook page will have the opportunity to play a variety of games and upload fan photos based around each of their favorite teams who made the playoffs. As teams advance in the playoffs, new and more difficult games will challenge fans.

News: Fans can follow NBC and VERSUS Facebook and Twitter accounts to receive the most up to date scores, reports and stories from around the NHL and ProHockeyTalk.

HOCKEY CENTRAL: Each night the network televises a playoff game VERSUS will kick off the broadcast with a Hockey Central pregame show. Hosted by either Bill Patrick or Liam McHugh with Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick, Hockey Central will preview the night’s action around the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To wrap up each night, the Hockey Central postgame show will have the latest highlights, news, analysis, and player interviews. Throughout the playoffs, Hockey Central will continue to feature guest analysts including, Mike Keenan and Mike Milbury.

COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL COVERAGE: Comcast SportsNet, the local home for the Capitals, Flyers and Sharks, will closely follow hometown team playoff progress with pre- and postgame coverage, breaking news and analysis throughout each team’s playoff run.

NBC SPORTS SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE (all times ET)

Saturday, April 30

3 p.m. Boston at Philadelphia, Game 1*

Sunday, May 1

3 p.m. Detroit at San Jose, Game 2*

Saturday, May 7

12:30 p.m. **Tampa Bay at Washington, Game 5*

Sunday, May 8

3 p.m. **Boston at Philadelphia, Game 5*

VERSUS SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE (all times ET)

Thursday, April 28

9 p.m. Nashville at Vancouver, Game 1*

Friday, April 29

7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Washington, Game 1*

10 p.m. Detroit at San Jose, Game 1

Saturday, April 30

9 p.m. Nashville at Vancouver, Game 2*

Sunday, May 1

7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Washington, Game 2*

Monday, May 2

7:30 p.m. Boston at Philadelphia, Game 2*

Tuesday, May 3

7:30 p.m. TBD

Wednesday, May 4

7 p.m. Philadelphia at Boston, Game 3*

9:30 p.m. (JIP) San Jose at Detroit, Game 3

Thursday, May 5

8:30 p.m. Vancouver at Nashville, Game 4

Friday, May 6

7 p.m. San Jose at Detroit, Game 4*

9:30 p.m. (JIP) Philadelphia at Boston, Game 4

Saturday, May 7

8 p.m. **Nashville at Vancouver, Game 5*

Sunday, May 8

8 p.m. **Detroit at San Jose, Game 5*

Monday, May 9

TBD

Tuesday, May 10

TBD

Wednesday, May 11

TBD

Thursday, May 12

TBD

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