NHL Conference Semifinals Score for NBC Sports Network

NHL Red Wings Black Hawks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Deciding game in the series between Chicago and Detroit draws a record 3.35 million viewers

NBC Sports is seeing stronger ratings this year for coverage of hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs, with Wednesday night’s deciding game in the series between Chicago and Detroit setting a record for a conference semifinal.

Nielsen estimates that the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime victory over the Red Wings in the seventh game of the Western Conference semifinals averaged 3.35 million viewers on NBC Sports Network, with viewership peaking at 4.61 million viewers from 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. ET.

This is double the audience that tuned in for last year’s seventh game in the Eastern Conference semis between Washington and the New York Rangers (1.68 million) and the most-watched conference semifinal game ever on cable (data going back to 1994).

Tuesday’s  seventh game in the other Western semifinal, between Los Angeles and San Jose, averaged 1.37 million viewers. Though, the L.A. Kings are the defending Stanley Cup champions, they aren’t anywhere near as popular nationally as the Red Wings and Blackhawks.

The Kings’ 2-1 victory on Tuesday drew the largest audience for a Western Conference semifinal that didn’t involve either Chicago or Detroit since 2001.

The 24 semifinal games on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC combined to average 1.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched conference semifinals ever across broadcast and cable (records go back to 1994).

NBC has been blessed with some great matchups for its conference finals. Action kicks off with a doubleheader on Saturday, with Chicago taking on Los Angeles in the West on NBC Sports Network, followed by the first game between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins in the East on NBC in primetime.

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  1. Mooltrikon says:

    I agree. I couldn’t watch it either, cuz my DISH Network package does not include NBC Sports Net. I get ALL of the other Sports Networks. But not NBC Sports Net. And, not only that, NBC Sports Net is not even HD. In other words, even if I paid the extra monthly surcharge to get NBC Sports Net, the hockey game would still not be in HD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Lloyd Atkinson says:

    Sorry to read that Stacy Scott would watch more NHL if he had easier and less costly access to NBC’s sports network. I live in Canada and see some of the NBC coverage on TSN (owned by Bell Media Canada and minority partner ESPN) and it is quite good. I also get the main NBC network from Minneapolis on cable and can compare its NHL coverage with the CBC version.Sometimes ,if i’m suffering from an overdose of veteran CBC commentator Don Cherry, it is nice to be able to switch to NBC.

  3. Stacy Scott says:

    I would watch, but I have to pay $20 extra per month to dish to get NBC Sports. So you have lost on that count. If I could ditch a lot of the stuff I don’t watch and get the stuff I do I would still watch. I tried the NHL on computer, but can’t watch the playoffs. So a die hard hockey fan who used to watch 2-3 games per night now watched none, and will watch none next season. Sorry NHL and NBC, but your money grubbing ways are now at an end.

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