NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 09: Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils stretches out for the puck against Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings as Bryce Salvador #24 of the New Jersey Devils looks on during Game Five of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 9, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Numbers at 10:30 suggest that there's viewer appetite for a New Jersey comeback.
DISCLAIMER: Once again, these are "fast nationals," which only draw numbers from the live, eastern and central time zone viewings. We will know the final nationals by Tuesday.
When the numbers come in Tuesday, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and Devils will have the tallest midget distinction being the most-watched game of the series through five games. 2.80 million viewers tuned in, the highest fast national rating for the series so far. Game 1 drew 2.71 million, while last Saturday's Game 2 drew 2.54 million (both ended up with 2.9 million).
The game drew a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49, which actually won the night on broadcast, beating Fox's regional baseball telecast (0.9 to 0.7) among younger viewers. Fox still had more viewers for baseball overall (3.07 million to 2.80). In the end, both will be massacred by basketball.
While numbers are by no means great, look at the half-hour breakdowns in viewership. The bump from 10:30-11 p.m. ET suggests that a Devils comeback might just make for a ratings comeback for this series.
8:00 p.m. - 2.55 million
8:30 p.m. - 2.61
9:00 p.m. - 2.39
9:30 p.m. - 2.85
10:00 p.m. - 2.94
10:30 p.m. - 3.45 million
While those could be some viewers just tuning in to see if the Kings win, it's encouraging to see the gain in viewers. Don't forget, of course, that these numbers will go up in finals, which are available Tuesday. We should also know if there was a big bump for Game 6 by then.