Versus' exclusive telecast of Boston's Game 7 win over Tampa in the Eastern Conference final was the NHL's most-watched third round game in nine years.
The May 27 telecast averaged 2.55 million viewers, according to Nielsens fast nationals data, making it the most-watched conference final games in Versus history. Moreover, it was the top conference final telecast since Game 7 of the Western Conference final on May 31, 2002.
Coverage of the Bruins' 1-0 win over the Lightning now ranks as Versus' sixth-most-watched game overall, behind only Stanley Cup Final games (see below).
Overall, Versus averaged 854,000 viewers for its exclusive and non-exclusive games combined through the first three rounds of this year's postseason, making it the most- watched Stanley Cup Playoffs on cable since 2002.
NBC's coverage of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged 1.93 million viewers per game, up 2% from 1.89 million last year. Highlights included NBC's conference quarterfinal coverage, which was the most-watched network coverage for the NHL's first round in seven years. The quarterfinals included the Philadelphia Flyers' Game 6 win over the Buffalo Sabres in overtime, which was watched by 2.57 million viewers, making it the most-watched NHL non-conference final game in 12 years.
NBC will televise the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final with the Bruins visiting the Vancouver Canucks on June 1 and June 4, while Versus will air Games 3 and 4 on June 6 and 8. NBC will carry the three if necessary games on June 10, 13 and 15.
The networks reached a new 10-year, $2 billion with the NHL in April. The parties' current contracts with the pro hockey league end with the conclusion of this year's Stanley Cup Final.
Most-Watched NHL Telecasts In Versus History
6/2/2010 Chicago at Philadelphia (SCF Game 3) - 3,600,000
6/4/2009 Detroit at Pittsburgh (SCF Game 4) - 3,448,000
6/4/2010 Chicago at Philadelphia (SCF Game 4) - 3,126,000
6/2/2009 Detroit at Pittsburgh (SCF Game 3) - 2,955,000
5/26/2008 Pittsburgh at Detroit (SCF Game 2) - 2,608,000
5/27/2011 Tampa Bay at Boston (ECF Game 7) - 2,550,000