Pittsburgh's double overtime win over Ottawa in Game 7 of the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals scored big for NBCSN (US).
The Penguins' 3-2 take down of the Senators, which marked the first time a Game 7 went into double overtime since 1994, averaged a 1.69 household rating and 2.92 million viewers, according to Fast National data from Nielsen Holdings. TV viewership peaked at almost 4.2 million viewers in the 11:15 p.m. ET quarter hour as the Penguins went on to win and set up a Stanley Cup Final matchup against the Nashville Predators.
Tacking on a record 94,800 digital watchers, the decisive Penguins-Senators encounter registered a Total Audience Delivery, which combines the average minute audience for television and digital, of nearly 3.02 million watchers, making it the most-watched NHL game ever on NBCSN involving a Canadian team, eclipsing the 2.76 million average audience for Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between Vancouver and Boston.
The May 25 affair was up 16% from the 2.59 million for last year's Eastern Conference Final Game 7 between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. It ranks as the third-most-watched conference final game on NBSCN to date, trailing 4.18 million for Game 7 between Los Angeles and Chicago on June 1, 2014, and 3.33 million for Game 7 between Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers on May 29, 2015.
The Pittsburgh-Ottawa game ranks as the most-streamed game in NHL history with 24.7 million live minutes, according to data from Adobe Analytics, and set the aforementioned average minute record audience of 94,800.
The Eastern and Western Conference Finals, which included three U.S. teams versus four last year, averaged a TAD of 1.81 million viewers, a 4% jump from the 1.74 million for the 2016 conference finals. This year's conference finals delivered a 1.04 household rating and averaged 1.76 million TV-only viewers.
Across all 78 games that aired on NBCUniversal Media LLC's NBC (US), NBCSN, CNBC (US) and USA (US) to date, the NHL playoffs have averaged a TAD of almost 1.13 million viewers, up 8% from 1.05 million for 83 games in 2016. The playoffs are averaging a 0.66 household rating and averaging 1.102 million TV-only viewers.
This year's playoffs included five teams from Canada, which is not rated by Nielsen, versus none from north of the border in 2016. Of this year's 78 contests, 47 featured a Canadian club.
Digitally, the 2017 playoffs as of May 26 totaled a record 1.7 million unique devices and 429.5 million minutes, respective gains of 21% and 28% from 1.4 million and 336.2 million minutes.
Pittsburgh's triumph marked the first time a defending champion returned to the Stanley Cup Final since Detroit in 2009. Led by Sidney Crosby, the Penguins will look to become the first NHL team to repeat since Detroit won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
Pitting teams from mid-sized markets — Pittsburgh is No. 23, while Nashville is DMA No. 29 — Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final faces off on May 29 at 8 p.m. ET, with the Predators visiting the Steel City. Featuring stellar defenseman P.K. Suban, Nashville was the lowest seeded team to make the playoffs as they clinched their first Stanley Cup appearance with a six-game Western Conference Final series win over Anaheim.
Last year's Stanley Cup Final match, in which Pittsburgh topped San Jose in six games, averaged a 2.3 household rating and 4 million viewers.