Penguins-Flyers produced best playoff opener ratings in 10 years


The high-wattage star power of a Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins series, unprecedented overall game coverage and a night full of twists and turns manifested itself in some great ratings to kick off the 2012 playoffs on Wednesday. The NHL provided a press release full of promising numbers from the first two nights of postseason puck-viewing, so here are some of the highlights.

  • Wednesday’s trio of contests (two on NBC Sports Network, one on CNBC) represented a 34 percent increase from last year’s ratings on what was then called Versus.
  • Overall ratings during the first two days (Wednesday and Thursday) represented a 22 percent increase from last year. Interestingly enough, Thursday’s trio of OT games was the first since 2001.
  • Again, the Flyers-Penguins thriller made the biggest impact. The press release captures the impressive numbers quite nicely, so here’s the excerpt:

Viewership for Wednesday night’s opening round game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and rival Philadelphia Flyers was up 83% from last year’s comparable opening night contest. It was the most-watched opening night playoff game in 10 years, a span that includes seasons when ESPN was the national U.S. rights holder.

In other words … No, it’s not just you. The playoffs have been electric so far. Here’s to many more nights like the first two during the next two-or-so months – even if it might be a little exhausting at times.

Quick on save percentage: ‘Those numbers don’t mean nothing’

Jonathan Quick
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With a quote that’s sure to raise the ire of the stats crowd, here’s Jonathan Quick on his .833 save percentage to start the season:

“That’s for people that don’t know the game. Those numbers don’t mean nothing. We’re 0-2, though. That number means something, so that’s something that we’ve got to get better at.”

(That quote, per LA Kings Insider.)

Quick allowed four goals on 22 shots in his last outing, a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Friday, after which head coach Darryl Sutter said of his star goalie: “He didn’t play very well tonight, did he?”

So even if Quick doesn’t think much of statistics, he should still be extra motivated for tonight’s home game against Vancouver, assuming he gets the start.

Last season, Quick’s .918 save percentage ranked in a three-way tie for 14th out of the 29 goalies who started 40 or more games.

Wild lose Graovac (groin) for 2-3 weeks

Tyler Graovac, Sam Reinhart,
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After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.

Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.

At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.