NEW YORK – Hockey fans submitted more than 800,000 brackets in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung, up 71% from last year. With the entire playoff field separated by just 16 points -- the narrowest gap in a half-century -- fans were tasked with predicting the winner of each series through the Stanley Cup Final, and the number of games for each First Round series.
During the First Round, 16 teams vying for the Stanley Cup netted 16.8 million possible outcomes in the Bracket Challenge, and zero 'perfect' brackets – correctly choosing every series winner, and the number of games in each of those series – remain in the challenge. After a dramatic First Round that included two Game 7s, several momentum-swinging overtimes and third-period comebacks, 17 fans are tied for first place atop the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung leaderboard, having correctly predicted all eight series winners and the correct number of games in seven of the eight series.
A closer look at the results so far:
Matchup and Series Length Breakdown
Fans were tasked with choosing which team would best their opponent in each match-up, including the number of games each series would take. For the First Round, fans posted the following winning percentages:
• 26% picked the Minnesota Wild to win their series against the St. Louis Blues – and 13.0% selected them to win in six games.
• 75% picked the Chicago Blackhawks to win their series against the Nashville Predators – and 36.2% selected them to win in six games.
• 78% picked the Anaheim Ducks to win their series against the Winnipeg Jets – and 13% selected them to win in four games.
• 51% picked the Calgary Flames to win their series against the Vancouver Canucks – and 20.7% selected them to win in six games.
• 73% picked the Montreal Canadiens to win their series against the Ottawa Senators – and 29.1% selected them to win in six games.
• 73% picked the Tampa Bay Lightning to win their series against the Detroit Red Wings – and 12.5% selected them to win in seven games.
• 89% picked the New York Rangers to win their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins – and 37.2% selected them to win in five games.
• 60% picked the Washington Capitals to win their series against the New York Islanders – and 18.9% selected them to win in seven games.
Stanley Cup Champion Predictions
The New York Rangers received the most fan selections to win the Stanley Cup – with more than 1 in 4 brackets. The full breakdown of Stanley Cup picks, in order (teams in italics have been eliminated):
New York Rangers 26.16%
St. Louis Blues9.57%
Tampa Bay Lightning5.23%
Detroit Red Wings 2.87%
New York Islanders1.93%
Famous Fans Bracket
Among the famous hockey fans who submitted a bracket, actor Jim Belushi currently holds the No. 1 spot, followed by NHL alumnus and NBCSN host Jeremy Roenick in second place, and actors Eric Stonestreet and Isaiah Mustafa hold the third and fourth place spots, respectively. Click here to view the Famous Hockey Fans leaderboard.
The Bracket Challenge awards the most successful fans with various prizes, including the grand prize of an all-expense paid trip to the 2015 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone. Visit NHL.com/Bracket for more details.