With Game 4 of the championship round in the Nielsen books, the 2014 National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs rank as the most-watched on cable in 17 years.
NBCSN’s June 11 coverage of the New York Rangers staving off elimination with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings -- led by netminder's Henrik Lundqvist's 40 saves and a pair of pucks that rested just short of the goal line (pictured) -- netted 3.38 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. There was no cable comparison to last year as Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final aired on NBC. Viewing for Wednesday night's game from Madison Square Garden peaked at over 4.6 million viewers in the 10:45 p.m.(ET) quarter hour.
For the 77 playoff games telecast on NBCSN and CNBC, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged a 0.66 rating and 1.098 viewers, the most-watched NHL playoffs on cable since 1997, when ESPN/ESPN2 pulled in 1.21 million viewers on average. This year’s average audience was up 10% from 2013's 1.0 million viewers and 0.60 rating.
Locally, Los Angeles delivered a 7.3 rating, the market’s best ever on NBCSN for an NHL game, surpassing 2012 Stanley Cup Final Game 4 vs. the Devils (6.6). New York scored its second-best NHL rating ever on NBCSN with an 8.1 rating, trailing only Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final vs. Montreal (8.5).
Overall, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final ranks as the third-most-watched in 12 years through four games. Thus far, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final has averaged a 2.8 rating and 4.652 million viewers on NBC/NBCSN, behind only the 2002 series won by the Detroit Red Wings over the Carolina Hurricanes, which scored with 4.73 million and last year’s Chicago Blackhawks’ triumph over the Boston Bruins, which tallied 5.34 million.
Kings-Rangers resumes tonight from Staples Center. NBC will have the coverage at 8 p.m. (ET) and for Games 6 and 7, if necessary.