The New Jersey Devils are on a roll in the standings, and that roll has brought a big ratings bump to their TV broadcasts, both locally and nationally. In fact, this North Arlington, N.J. native has never seen them hotter, from a television and social media perspective.
First of all, let's cover the national side of things. Devils-Penguins on Sunday drew 556,000 viewers, making it the most-watched non-"Wednesday Night Rivalry" game on NBC Sports Network this season. The previous high was, coincidentally enough, also a Devils game, for the team's home opener against Philadelphia (449,000 viewers). According to an NBC spokesperson, the game drew a 10.0 rating in Pittsburgh, as that market just rolls along with big numbers. It was the top cable network in Pittsburgh for the evening, which is big, considering the behemoth known as The Walking Dead was new last night.
In New York, however, the Devils are continuing to grow. The game drew an 0.85 rating in the New York market (the Devils, Rangers and Islanders all count this TV market as home), topping the 0.77 rating for Devils-Flyers a few weeks ago as the highest-rated Devils game (not counting games against the Rangers or Islanders) ever for NBCSN/VERSUS/OLN in the area.
That said, it wasn't even the most-watched Devils game of the weekend in the area. The first game of the home-and-home series between New Jersey and Pittsburgh drew a 1.25 rating in New York on MSG Plus. This was the most-watched Devils game on the network since Mar. 10, 2010, when a Devils-Rangers game hit a 1.35. Overall, the Devils have averaged an 0.56 rating on MSG Plus this season, up 143 percent from the same point (i.e. through 10 games, not through early February) last season (0.23). Add that to the team having sold out all but one of it's home games this season before tonight's game against the Hurricanes, and you see a franchise that's on the rise again.