The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators played a thriller Thursday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, with Pittsburgh prevailing 3-2 in double overtime.
The game featured two dramatic third-period goals, several minor controversies and 25 minutes of tense overtime hockey. It was just about everything the NHL could have asked for in a Game 7.
As a result of the stakes and the excitement, ratings for Penguins-Senators were incredibly strong.
Let’s start with Canada, where more than 11 million people (out of a population of 35 million) watched at least some of the game. Sportsnet and CBC combined averaged 4.29 million viewers, making it Canada’s most watched game of the 2017 postseason and the most watched playoff game in Senators franchise history.
The numbers stateside were maybe even more impressive. According to NBC, Penguins-Senators drew 3.016 million viewers, up 16 percent from the Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay matchup in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. It was the third most watched game ever on NBCSN and the most watched game involving a Canadian team.
Ott-Pit Gm7 was 3rd-most watched conf final gm ever on NBCSN, behind LAK-Chi Gm7 (6/1/14; 4.179 mil) & TB-NYR Gm7 (5/29/15; 3.329 mil)
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) May 26, 2017
NBC also says Game 7 logged 24.7 million live minutes, making it the most streamed game in NHL history.
Something about that Penguins-Senators series—derided as slow and boring for a while there—seems to have captured the public imagination. Or, more likely, fans just really like NHL playoff overtime.