The numbers are in, and the Stanley Cup Final continues to draw record television audiences.
According to a statement released by the NBC Sports Group, this year’s final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks has drawn an average of 5.356 million viewers per game, “making it the most-watched Final through four games on record (data available since 1994), according to The Nielsen Company.”
The series between the Original Six teams is tied at two-games apiece, as it shifts back to Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks evened the series with an exciting 6-5 overtime win in Boston.
It was the third game of the final to reach overtime, and the theater provided in an 11-goal game was certainly enough to entice more viewers.
Wednesday’s Game 4 peaked with an audience of 8.192 million viewers, according to NBC Sports. The average audience was 6.459 million on NBC. That’s up 120 per cent from the same game between the L.A. Kings and New Jersey Devils in the 2012 final.
The TV ratings have continued to grow in this series.
Game 3 of this series broke the NBCSN ratings record set in the second game.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.