NBC’s opening day coverage posts best regular season ratings since 2002

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The wounds of the lockout might persist, but NBC’s opening day ratings shows that NHL fans are aware that hockey is back.

NBC’s NHL regional two-game coverage (Chicago at Los Angeles and Pittsburgh at Philadelphia) earned a 2.0 overnight rating, which earned some impressive milestones if you exclude Winter Classic telecasts:

  • That mark represents the best NHL regular season game rating on any network since 2002.
  • Logically enough, that means it’s the highest-rated regular season contest since NBC took over NHL coverage in 2006.
  • This represents a 67-percent increase from last season’s average for NHL-on-NBC telecasts and an 82-percent increase from the most comparable weekend (Chicago at Detroit on Jan. 14, 2012) from 2011-12.
  • Chicago (6.6 rating), Philadelphia (7.8) and Pittsburgh (19.4) enjoyed record regional regular season ratings. Los Angeles’ 1.5 mark is the best in that market since March 4, 2007.
  • Buffalo (6.6) and Boston (2.5) rounded out the top five markets.

Hopefully fans stick around for more coverage during this shortened season. Speaking of which, the Buffalo Sabres currently host the Philadelphia Flyers on NBC as of this writing.