The NHL has had a very buzzy start to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. A bunch of exciting games with lots of goals scored and a lot of lead changes will do that. Both local and national ratings have reflected this start.
Led by St. Louis and Chicago, the NHL has seen a lot of markets hit ratings pay dirt this past week. The two midwestern rivals have had both of their games go to overtime and seen massive local numbers. CSN Chicago drew their highest-rated game of any kind in three years for Game 1 with an 11.5 rating.
Game 2 St. Louis-Chicago saw NBC draw their highest-ever rating for a Blues game in St. Louis with an 11.2. Nationally, the game hit a 1.6 overnight rating. That’s up 33 percent from the comparable NY Rangers/Washington game from a year ago.
Elsewhere in the west, San Jose drew a 2.9 rating for Game 1 of the Sharks/Kings series, up big from a 1.9 for Game 1 of Sharks/Canucks last year. The Denver market has returned for the exciting Avalanche, averaging a robust 7.25 rating for the first two games of Avs/Wild. The Twin Cities are in full force for that series as well, averaging an 8.0 through two games.
In the east, the clear leader out of the gate is Detroit/Boston, with Beantown averaging a massive 13.65 through two games, and Detroit averaging a 10.15 through the first Boston leg. Pittsburgh’s had a typically massive average of 15.35, while Columbus has dipped their toes in with a 4.05 average, while Game 2 of their OT victory over Pittsburgh peaked at above a 7 rating. Both Philly and New York saw numbers rise for their Noon start on Easter, while Tampa’s been solid despite their club’s poor performance.
For those curious about Columbus’ performance, given it’s just their second time in the playoffs, it’s worth noting the team’s regular season ratings. For most games this year, the Blue Jackets have hovered around that 1.0 rating Mendoza Line. For Columbus to see its ratings multiply by threes and fours for their opening round playoff series is a very good sign.
As for NBC’s Sunday doubleheader, the early game (Game 2 of Philly/Rangers) matched the 1.6 rating for the overtime thriller in St. Louis the day before. The late game, between the Red Wings and Bruins, drew a 1.8. All three NBC windows were handily beaten by NBA coverage on ABC, but all three were up double-digits in ratings from the year-ago broadcasts.
The only real lagging series with both teams performing at below average? Ducks/Stars. While both the Dallas and LA (which claims Anaheim) markets increased from Game 1 to Game 2, the numbers are very low. Hopefully, with the Ducks up 2-0, they’ll see that Los Angeles market increase.
Here are the local ratings figures via NBC, Comcast, and my own sources through the first five days of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Columbus – 4.4, 3.7
Pittsburgh – 16.9, 13.8
Tampa Bay – 4.1, 1.7, 3.5
Montreal – N/A
Philadelphia – 5.6, 7.2
NY Rangers – 1.7, 3.2
Detroit – 11.1, 9.2
Boston – 12.9, 14.4
Chicago – 11.5, 9.5
St. Louis – 10.4, 11.2
Minnesota – 8.4, 7.6
Colorado – 6.5, 8.0
Dallas – 1.0, 1.7
Anaheim – 0.6, 0.8
Los Angeles – 0.7, 1.0
San Jose – 2.9, 2.7