The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks put on a pretty sloppy show in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, but when it comes to entertainment value, it's going to be hard to top this one.
There was a little bit of everything: biting, goaltending, penalties, power plays, biting, broken glass, biting and a game-winning goal with 18.5 seconds left. Raffi Torres put that puck in the back of the net three minutes shy of 11 p.m. ET, much to the delight of NBC affiliates across the Eastern time zone that had the perfect lead in to their newscasts.
At NBC headquarters in New York, they're also smiling. According to NBC Sports PR, Wednesday's game drew a 3.2/6 overnight rating, the best overnight ratings for a Game 1 since 1999. In Boston, the game registered at a ridiculous 25.5/39 rating, and in Providence, R.I., an impressive 16.7/24 rating came through.
Compared with Game 1 from a year ago, the numbers look even more impressive, up 14 percent from the contest between Philadelphia and Chicago, two major American television markets. Granted, it's a weekday evening this year versus a Saturday night last year, but considering one of the home cities in this year's Final isn't in the United States, you're not getting that local boost from two separate markets.
The numbers are solid for NBC. We'll see if they improve as the series wears on.
The Stanley Cup Finals are ongoing, as the Vancouver Canucks battle the Boston Bruins. Stick with this StoryStream for full coverage of Game 1. For coverage on the Finals, stick with our Stanley Cup Finals hub, our Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.