Your 2012 playoff ratings recap

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The 2012 Stanley Cup finals ended the playoffs with a bang. The Los Angeles Kings booted the New Jersey Devils in stunning fashion, pushing us all into the frightening hockey-less wilderness known as the off-season. The ratings for this year’s postseason are in, and for the most part, they’re strong.

NBC sent out a press release that runs down the ratings from both a big picture and more specific standpoint. Here are some of the most interesting bits:

  • With an average of 936K viewers between the games shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC, the first round was the most-watched on record.
  • The same can be said of the second round (aka semifinals), with an average of 1.32 million viewers.
  • The combined first three rounds generated the best numbers in 15 years, with a 1.03 million viewer average.
  • NBC Sports Network’s ratings were up 12 percent from 2011, while NBC and NBC Sports Network (as a combination) saw a four percent improvement.
  • The Los Angeles Kings’ Cup-winning Game 6 triumph produced a 13.6 household rating, the highest on record in the market. Beyond that, Six markets set records for viewership on NBC Sports Network: Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Phoenix and St. Louis. Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis and Washington set NBC records as well.

Pretty good stuff, huh?

If you’re the type who likes to soak in the details, here are the round-by-round notes directly from the press release:

Round by Round:

CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

• Averaged 936,000 viewers on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC, making them the most-watched first round on record (cable data not available prior to 1994).

• Averaged 744,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network, making them the most-watched in NBC Sports Network (formerly VERSUS) history, up 16% vs. 2011 (642,000), and the highest on a cable channel in 11 years (ESPN, 745,000 in 2001).

• Averaged 2.57 million viewers on NBC, up 39% vs. last year (1.85). The most-watched Conference Quarterfinals on broadcast television since 1998 (2.76/FOX).

• Capitals-Bruins Game 6 on NBC averaged 3.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Conference Quarterfinal game since the advent of Nielsen People Meters (1987).

• Washington did an 8.6 household rating, the best in the market on broadcast television for an NHL game since 2004.

• Capitals-Bruins Game 7 on NBC Sports Network averaged 1.32 million viewers, making it the most-watched first-round game on cable in 12 years (1.51/San Jose-St. Louis, Game 7 in 2000 on ESPN).

• It was also up 43 percent vs. last year’s comparable game (926,000; Washington-Montreal, Game 7) and was the most-watched first-round game in NBC Sports Network history.

CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

• Averaged 1.32 million viewers across NBC, the NBC Sports Network & CNBC, up 28% vs. last year and best on record.

• Averaged 1.29 million viewers on the NBC Sports Network, up 43% vs. last year and best on record for a single cable network.

• Game 3 of the series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, which went to triple overtime, was watched by 1.85 million viewers on the NBC Sports Network and was the most-watched 2012 Conference Semifinal game on cable.

• In Washington, Rangers-Capitals Game 7 received a 7.7 household rating, up 18% vs. 2011. The game received the second-highest local rating ever in the market for a NHL game on the NBC Sports Network.

• In St. Louis, Blues-Kings Game 1 received an 8.1 household rating, the best in that market for an NHL game on broadcast television since 2004.

CONFERENCE FINALS

• Through three rounds, the 2012 Playoffs averaged 1.09 million viewers on NBC, NBC Sports Network & CNBC, making them the most-watched in 15 years (1.237 on FOX/ESPN/ESPN2 in 1997).

• The Western Conference Finals averaged 1.02 million viewers for the four games on NBC Sports Network, up 18 percent over last year’s Western Conference Finals (San Jose-Vancouver, 863,000). NBC Sports Network aired Games 1, 2, 3 and 5. NBC aired Game 4, averaging 1.4 million viewers, down slightly vs. last year (Vancouver-San Jose, 1.5 million).

• The Eastern Conference Finals averaged 1.39 million viewers on NBC Sports Network, down from 2011 (1.71 million).

• In New York, Game 5 of Rangers-Devils received a 6.47 household rating, the highest local rating ever in the market for an NHL game on NBC Sports Network.

• In Phoenix, Game 1 Coyotes-Kings received a 5.56 household rating, the highest local rating ever in the market for a NHL game on the NBC Sports Network.

STANLEY CUP FINAL

• The Cup-clinching Game 6 was the most-watched game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final with 4.93 million viewers.

o NBC ranked first in Monday night primetime among broadcast networks in the advertiser-coveted M18-49 and M18-34 demos.

· In Los Angeles, the Cup-clinching Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final received a 13.6 household rating, the highest local rating ever in the market for a NHL playoff game on broadcast television on record (since 1976).

• In New York, Game 1 received a 5.1, the highest local rating in the market since 2003 for a NHL playoff game on broadcast television (10.1/Anaheim-New Jersey Game 7/ABC).

• For the entire series, NBC and NBC Sports Network combined to average 3.01 million viewers, down from last year’s 4.57 million average.

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.