Riding impressive streaks, the Boston Celtics and San Jose Sharks have dunked and skated their way to the best records in the NBA and NHL, respectively. And the Nielsens, for the most part, have followed in tow with the clubs’ white-hot beginnings to their 2008-09 seasons.

On Dec. 17, the Sharks suffered just their second loss in 14 games when they wound up on the wrong end of a 2-1 OTer in Ohio against the Columbus Blue Jackets, with their record dipping to 25-3-3. Before that contest, San Jose had surpassed the 1929-30 Boston Bruins for the best 30-game start ever in pro pucks.

Through their first 25 games on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Sharks contests have averaged a 1.26 household rating, a 40% rise from the same stage of last season, when San Jose scored a 0.93 mark overall, according to Nielsen Media Research data. 

CSN Bay Area should build on that total Dec. 18: the Sharks will look to take a bite out of the defending champion Detroit Red Wings and any stray marine mollusks that surface on the ice at Joe Louis Arena  for a second time this season.

When Joe Johnson missed a game-tying free throw in the dying seconds Wednesday night in Atlanta, the defending champion Cs were able to eke out another one against the Hawks and extend their winning skein to a franchise best 16 games. The contest also pulled Boston within two games of matching the NBA’s top season-starters: both the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers and 1969-70 New York Knicks began those championship runs at 26-2.

Over their first 20 games on Comcast SportsNet New England, the Celtics have averaged a 3.51 household rating in the Boston DMA, according to Nielsen data. That’s up 3% from the regional’s 3.42 full mark last season, when CSN NE, with the aid of the franchise’s new Big 3, more than doubled the club’s 1.6 average from the 2006-07 campaign. On the down side: Celtic games were off 9% on the regional through the same stage of last season, perhaps because a number of the club’s games have aired in shared national windows on ESPN and NBA TV.

Boston’s next three opponents are all at home, with the local telecasts in CSN NE’s court, starting with the Chicago Bulls Dec. 19. Ironically, Boston could tie the NBA’s top start against the Knicks on Dec. 21 and then set the record Dec. 23 versus their old friends from Philly, the team owned by Comcast. 

Of course, a more meaningful game against their once and always most prominent rivals, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in Finals rematch, looms Christmas day on ABC.