More New York area hockey fans watched first-round National Hockey League playoff action than they had in the past dozen years.
Although fans and executives at the regional sports networks may not have liked the Game 7 outcomes that saw both the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils eliminated from the pro puck circuit's postseason, MSG and MSG Plus averaged a 2.5 and a 1.4 household rating, respectively, in the New York DMA.
MSG's Rangers coverage translated into 185,846 households on average, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Among males 25 to 54, the Rangers-Washington Capital series averaged a 2.69 mark. The April 29 seventh game delivered a 3.02 rating, 225,000 households, the most for a Rangers contest since April 22, 1997, when the Blueshirts played the Florida Panthers in the opening round. The game peaked during the 9:15 p.m. quarter hour high with a 4.42 household rating and 328,575 households.
On MSG Plus, the Devils series against the Carolina Hurricanes averaged 101,100 households. During the Devils' seventh-game loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 29, MSG Plus skated to a 1.64 ratings average and 121,915 households, tying its third game mark to be the club's highest-rated game since May 5, 2001. That's when the Devils took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and notched a 1.74 HH RTG
MSG and MSG Plus will continue to cover the 2009 NHL playoffs through to the crowning of the Stanley Cup on the weekly Hockey Night Live presented by Blimpie, which airs live every Saturday night at 10 p.m.