The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks finished a series for the ages in fitting fashion Sunday night. A fluke goal in an overtime ended the series on a heartbreaking note. The seventh game between the second and third largest markets was a big hit.
Game 7 drew a 3.17 overnight rating for NBCSN, the highest ever for an NHL game on the network. While NBCSN has only been around since 2012, that also counts the histories of VERSUS and OLN. That means the game drew higher ratings than every Stanley Cup Final game on cable going back to at least 2006.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this comes from the local markets. Both Chicago (22.7!) and Los Angeles (4.8) drew record ratings on NBCSN. Now, don’t forget, Los Angeles has played two Stanley Cup Final games on NBCSN, while Chicago has played four, so Game 7 out-rated all of them in those markets.
Other top 10 markets for NBCSN: Buffalo (which, due to its size, finished ahead of LA), Minneapolis, Boston, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, New York and Providence. New York, who’s Rangers await the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, drew a 3.7 rating. That’s a record for any game not featuring the Rangers, Devils or Islanders.
Game 7’s numbers give hope that viewers might stick around for the Stanley Cup Final. This is a small-scale key moment for the NHL. Setting a huge record, and owning the night on cable is another big step for them on television.