NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 02: Jeff Carter #77 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the New Jersey Devils during Game Two of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 2, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
DISCLAIMER: Before we start this up: these are fast national ratings that do not count the West Coast when it deals with live programming. So this number will very likely go up when the final ratings come in at some point early next week.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it appears, drew fewer viewers than Game 1.
Another overtime in Game 2 couldn't prevent numbers from dropping. Game 2 drew 2.54 million viewers in fast nationals, which, once again, do not include the Pacific time zone. These numbers will go up, but you have to question how far they can really go. If it doesn't markedly improve, it'll draw the lowest numbers for a Finals game on broadcast television since Game 3 in 2007, which barely cracked two million viewers.
The game peaked with 2.9 million viewers from 8-8:30 p.m. ET, which is strange, since that contained 20 minutes of pre-game show. Look, Nielsen ratings are flawed, you all know this. The game lost to FOX's baseball coverage in total viewers (2.93 million to 2.54) but did beat baseball among viewers 18-49 (0.9 to 0.7). The hockey game actually tied with ABC to finish first for the night on broadcast among younger viewers.
Still, these numbers are not good. Every game from the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, including the two games on VERSUS, drew more viewers than Game 2. One has to hope for at least one Devils win to try and make this compelling, if not, NBC Sports Network might get to see the Stanley Cup handed out to the Kings on its airwaves for the first time in front of low numbers.