Hockey finals draw 6.25 million viewers

Now this is what NBC was hoping for when it signed on as the broadcast partner of the National Hockey League a few years ago.

Monday’s fifth game of the Stanley Cup Finals on the Peacock drew the largest aud for a hockey game in the U.S. in four years — 6.25 million — and the biggest in six years for a game that wasn’t a Game 7.

Game, in which the Pittsburgh Penguins kept the Detroit Red Wings from winning the Cup with a 4-3 victory in triple overtime, won the night for NBC in some young-adult demo categories.

According to Nielsen national estimates, the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC averaged a 2.8 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, tying CBS repeat comedies for the timeslot lead from 8 to 9 p.m. and then moving to the outright lead at 10. It also racked up a hefty 3.9/14 in men 18-34, roughly twice the score for any other program on the night.

Though the best results came post-primetime (game didn’t end until nearly 1 a.m. ET), NBC nearly caught CBS for the night’s lead in 18-49 and did prevail in adults 18-34 and all male categories.

Result sets up the Peacock nicely for tonight’s Game 6 in Pittsburgh and perhaps a deciding seventh game on Saturday in Detroit. The Red Wings lead the best-of-seven series three games to two.

This is the best finals matchup for hockey in years, pitting a traditional power (Detroit) against the team with the best young player in the league (Sidney Crosby of the Penguins). Contrast this to the previous three seasons in which Canadian teams battled opposite the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

News wasn’t good Monday, meanwhile, for ABC’s “The Mole.” In its return to action after a four-year hiatus, the action gameshow settled for a 1.9/5 in 18-49 and 4.67 million viewers overall. In its 10 o’clock slot, it lagged not only hockey on NBC but also a repeat of “CSI: Miami” on CBS (2.6/7, 8.91m).

From 8 to 10 p.m., the Alphabet did a bit better with week three of “The Bachelorette” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.46m). It was up 10% week to week and peaked with a 2.6/7 in the demo at 9:30.

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