Penguins-Flyers and Bruins-Rangers drew great ratings

8 Comments

When it comes to getting the coverage you want, 2012 might just represent the greatest time ever to be a hockey fan. NBC and its network of channels is primed to put together unprecedented coverage of the 2012 playoffs, so if Sunday’s duo of games serves as a dress rehearsal, it’s going to be an amazing run through June.

First up, here’s a look at the ratings for the captivating Sunday afternoon game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, which aired from 12:30-3:30 pm ET (modified from information via NBC’s press release):

  • The match drew a 1.2 overnight rating, which represents a 20 percent increase compared to last week’s Rangers-Flyers game. That 1.2 rating is the best regular season mark – aside from Hockey Day in America’s coverage and Winter Classic games – in more than two years. (A Penguins-Capitals game that aired on Feb. 7, 2010 drew a 1.3 rating.)
  • It also tied coverage from an ABC regional game on April 7, 2001 as the best overnight for an April regular-season NHL game since April 1, 2000 (which drew a 1.4).
  • It generated a 4.7 rating in Philadelphia, which aside from the Winter Classic was the best in the market for a regular season contest in 10 years. Pittsburgh tuned in too, with a whopping 12.7 rating.

April Fool’s Day turned out to be a great one in general, too, as a Boston Bruins-New York Rangers carried some great momentum on NBC Sports Network. Here are some rating stats from that contest, which aired from 7-9:30 pm ET:

  • The game drew 664,000 viewers, the most since opening night. It was the sixth most-watched game in NBC Sports Network/Versus’ history.
  • It generated a 4.97 rating in Boston, up 86 percent from the Bruins’ average takeaway on NBC Sports Network (which is 2.67).
  • That game made NBC Sports Network the No. 1 rated cable network in Boston during the game and the third-ranked network overall.
  • It also drew a 1.44 rating in New York, an 82 percent increase from average Rangers game, which is normally .79.

Sunday was a great day to be a hockey fan, but with the playoffs approaching on April 11, it’s only going to get better. (The rest of this week shouldn’t be too shabby either with teams jostling for final position, by the way.)

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP
2 Comments

It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

7 Comments

Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

11 Comments

Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP
3 Comments

For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.