With the first battle for Lord Stanley's Cup decided in the waning seconds, NBC drew the most-watched opening game for the NHL final in a dozen years.
The June 1 telecast, featuring the Vancouver Canucks topping the Boston Bruins, 1-0, averaged 4.6 million viewers up 3% from the 4.4 million who tuned in last year's Game 1 between Philadelphia and Chicago, according to Nielsen data. The 4.6 million tally now ranks as the most-watched Stanley Cup Final opener since Buffalo- Dallas scored with 5.1 million for Fox in 1999.
The 2.7 rating/5 household share for Game 1 was up 17% from both the previous two year's Game 1 rating: a 2.3/5.
In what is the first Stanley Cup Final bridging the U.S./Canadian border since 2007 -- when the Ottawa Senators faced the Anaheim Ducks -- the average audience soared 189% from the 1.6 million NBC counted for Game 3 of that series (the first two contests aired on Versus forbear, OLN).
Not surprisingly, Boston topped the metered market ratings for Game 1 with a 25.5/39, followed by Providence (16.7/24), Buffalo (7.2/11), Hartford (5.5/8) and Pittsburgh (4.3/7). Nielsen doesn't measure Canadian markets.