While not quite capable of reaching the numbers of some of the most-watched games in league history, the terrific Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Bruins still ranks pretty high in terms of NHL broadcasts throughout history.
The Blackhawks stunning Game 6 comeback drew 8.16 million viewers to NBC on Monday night, making it the ninth-most watched U.S. broadcast of an NHL game in league history. Since 1995, when the league brought the Stanley Cup Final back to broadcast television, it is the third-most watched game of an era when rights have been shared by NBC, ABC and Fox. It is the third-most watched game since the sport came back to NBC in 2006.
The only games in the last 39 years with more viewers than Monday's Game 6 were Game 7 of Bruins vs. Canucks in 2011 (8.54 million viewers) and the overtime Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Flyers in 2010 (8.28 million). These numbers came despite many in Chicago being without power on Monday, and the game being moved to a separate affiliate in big market Detroit.
What does it mean? Well, in the grand scheme, not much. We all knew that a Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup Final would be big business for the sport. They brought records to NBCSN, and great audiences to NBC. It caps off a year in which hockey fans were denied their sport for three months, and then devoured it insatiably once it returned, which record regular season, playoff and likely, Stanley Cup Final ratings.
Most-watched NHL games of all-time in the U.S.
1. 5/18/71, Montreal vs. Chicago, Game 7: 12.41 million (CBS)
2. 5/11/72, Boston vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 10.93 million (CBS)
3. 5/10/73, Montreal vs. Chicago, Game 6: 9.41 million (NBC)
4. 6/15/11, Boston vs. Vancouver, Game 7: 8.54 million (NBC)
5. 4/30/72, NY Rangers vs. Boston, Game 1: 8.51 million (CBS)
6. 5/12/74, Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 3: 8.30 million (NBC)
7. 6/9/10, Chicago vs. Philadelphia, Game 6: 8.28 million (NBC)
8. 5/7/72, Boston vs. NY Rangers, Game 4: 8.26 million (CBS)
9. 6/24/13, Chicago vs. Boston, Game 6: 8.16 million (NBC)
10. 6/12/09, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, Game 7: 7.99 million (NBC)