Sunday night was a double-edged sword for sports fans. On one hand, it was great to have two championship-level sporting events going on at the same time. Still, sports junkies also had to choose between Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals or Game 2 of the NBA finals.
While a big market, history-soaked match between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers brought in the greatest audience, the Philadelphia Flyers-Chicago Blackhawks match generated a big increase in ratings compared to last year’s Game 5.
The primetime portion of the NBA Finals Game 2 on ABC between the Lakers & Celtics scored a 5.0 adults 18-49 rating from 8-11pm. That was up 6% from the fast affiliate ratings last year’s Game 2 (Orlando Magic vs. LA Lakers), which posted a 4.7/14 from 8-11p in the Fast Nationals before rising to a 5.8/17 from 8-11:12p in the Finals.
The primetime portion of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 on NBC between the Blackhawks & Flyers cored a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating from 8-11pm. That was up 33% from the fast affiliate ratings for last year’s Game 5 (Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings on Saturday 6/6/09), which posted a 1.6/6 in the Fast Nationals before rising to a 1.8/7 in the Finals.
Overall, it seems like ratings from the 2009 playoffs to this year’s playoffs have been up just about across the board. That’s pretty impressive for the NHL, especially considering the fact that last year’s Red Wings-Penguins series was such a star-packed affair. Also, as Steve Lepore of Puck the Media points out, the ratings improved compared to last year’s Cup finals Game 5 even though that match didn’t contend with a championship-level pro basketball game.
To some extent, the sport is still recovering from the lingering effects of the Obstruction Era and the fallout from the lockout. But with a wide-open game, plenty of star power and the hugely successful 2010 Vancouver Olympics pushing things forward, hockey continues to grow as a sport in North America.
Now, if these two teams could just make it to a Game 7 …
Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf was banged up in his team’s overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night and it is bad enough to keep him out of the lineup entirely on Wednesday when they host the Nashville Predators.
The Ducks announced the news just before puck drop on Wednesday.
Getzlaf played only 10 minutes on Tuesday night before exiting the game.
The Ducks are also playing without goaltender Jonathan Bernier who was also injured on Tuesday, resulting in the team calling up Dustin Tokarski for Wednesday’s game. Tokarski will serve as the backup for John Gibson.
Getzlaf is definitely the bigger loss here for the Ducks on Wednesday, not only because Gibson was likely to start this game anyway, but because Getzlaf is one of their absolute best players.
Still one of the NHL’s top playmakers, Getzlaf has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the Ducks’ first seven games. That includes a three assist game against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has had a busy night on Wednesday.
After opening the scoring just 10 seconds into their game against the New York Rangers, he might have brought some unwanted attention upon himself when he was given a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi in the second period.
It all happened as Girardi was attempting to knock a puck down out of mid-air when Pastrnak came in with a crushing high hit. Girardi was shaken up as a result of the hit and briefly exited the game before later returning after missing a couple of shifts.
The Bruins ended up successfully killing the two minute penalty to Pastrnak, but quickly gave up a pair of goals later in the period to allow the Rangers to take a 3-2 lead.
The next question now is whether or not the NHL’s department of player safety steps in and issues any additional discipline. Any further discipline would seem like a real long-shot at this point.
Pastrnak still had a skate on the ice at the time of contact with Girardi, and while there was contact with Girardi’s head there was also contact with his chest as well. Girardi also returned to the game, and whether or not there is an injury does play a role into the decision.
For the second year in a row the Montreal Canadiens are storming out of the gate to open the season.
Thanks to their 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night the Canadiens are off to a 6-0-1 start and have the best record in the league through their first seven games.
Even though Wednesday’s game was only decided by a single goal, it was a particularly strong effort and perhaps one of their best of the young season. The biggest reason the game remained so close for so long was because of the play of Thomas Greiss in the Islanders crease during the second and third periods where Montreal had a commanding edge on the shot chart. This game could have easily shifted heavily in Montreal’s favor, and the fact it did not is a testament to the way Griess played.
But the star of the night was — once again — Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber as he continued his incredible start with his new team.
With less than three minutes to play in regulation, Weber broke a 2-2 tie with his third goal of the season on a shot that seems like it was probably close to breaking the sound barrier.
OK … maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but just look at this thing.
How do you stop that? Why would you want to get in front of it?
Weber also assisted on Philip Danault‘s goal earlier in the period. He now has nine points in his first seven games with the Canadiens.
As we saw a year ago with the Canadiens won their first nine games (and then missed the playoffs) a fast start doesn’t guarantee anything over the course of an 82-game season. But this year’s Canadiens should have something last year’s Canadiens didn’t have over the final five months of the season — Carey Price. These guys might be pretty good.
After getting blown out on Tuesday night and having to go with a rookie goalie making his first career start in New York on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins really needed a strong start against the Rangers.
That is exactly what they got when David Pastrnak gave them an early lead just 10 seconds into the game when he capitalized on a Nick Holden giveaway.
The play all started right off the opening faceoff when Holden gave the puck away to Zdeno Chara in the neutral zone. Chara quickly moved it along to Marchand who drew both Rangers defenders leaving Pastrnak wide open for a one-on-one chance against Henrik Lundqvist.
The result: Pastrnak’s fifth goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.