Penguins-Flyers and Bruins-Rangers drew great ratings

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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.)