Game 5 rating highest in 20 years

After ice-cold early ratings, the Stanley Cup finals on ABC wrapped with white-hot numbers.

According to Nielsen, Thursday’s marathon Game 5 of hockey’s championship series between the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars scored a 4.2 rating/9 share in homes — the highest U.S. rating in the 20 years since Game 6 of the 1980 finals between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers on CBS (4.4/17).

The game, won by Dallas in the third overtime period at about 1:30 a.m. EDT, peaked in the midnight half-hour with a 5.7/12. It also fared well in demos, with its final half-hour in primetime netting a 3.2/11 share in adults 18-34, just behind a repeat of NBC’s “ER” (3.4/12).

National ratings for Saturday’s Game 6 won’t be available until today, but overnights give it a 4.9/9 for the primetime portion, including a first-place 6.8/12 in the 10:30 half-hour. That could translate into a national number even better than Thursday’s.

The Devils won the game and the series at about 12:30 a.m. EDT Sunday with a goal early in the second overtime period.

The results for the final two games are a marked improvement over the 2.3/5 and 3.3/6 for ABC’s first two Cup games on June 3 and 5. This is the Alphabet web’s first try at hockey following a four-year run by Fox.

National ratings for the second and third games of the NBA Finals will also be available today. According to overnights, Friday’s Game 2 averaged an 11.2/20, down from Wednesday’s 12.8/21 overnight mark.

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