Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals finished down from every Game 1 on broadcast television since 2009.
Wednesday night's overtime game drew just 2.9 million viewers on NBC, down 33 percent from Game 1 in 2011 (Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks: 4.53 million). It is the least-watched Stanley Cup finals broadcast on network television since 2007, when the Ducks' Game 5 clincher over the Senators drew the same number. That was a series high, which provides what is hopefully some good news that the NHL won't fall further to pre- and post-lockout ratings levels.
If the Kings-Devils series finds a way to grow on Saturday night, all is not lost. However, last year's finals dropped more than a million viewers (from 4.53 million to 3.37 million) from Game 1 to Game 2.
Finally, I'm not the guy to be all "the NHL's ratings are so low ...," but Game 1 got beaten out by the 2012 NBA draft lottery on ESPN, which drew 2.95 million viewers. Memo to the NHL: Fix the finals and watch the viewers pile up!
Recent Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Numbers
Los Angeles vs. New Jersey, 2012: 2.9 million
Boston vs. Vancouver, 2011: 4.53 million
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 2010: 4.34 million
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings, 2009: 4.51 million