The NHL's comeback trail on television continues to see ridiculous numbers, as the network set a ratings record for their first-ever "Rivalry Wednesday" game.
The Bruins-Rangers game, which went to overtime and was overall a pretty great game, drew 956,000 viewers, the best-ever for NBC Sports Network, VERSUS, or OLN for a regular season game. The previous record was set on opening night of the 2011-12 season, when Flyers-Bruins drew 874,000 viewers on Oct. 6. It was the most-watched NHL game on cable since 1.28 million tuned in to a Sharks-Red Wings game in January of 2002.
The game also drew an 0.5 rating among adults 18-49, putting it among the top cable programs of the night. In fact, only ESPN's broadcast of Miami's stunning upset over Duke in college basketball drew a better rating among young adults, hitting an 0.6.
The game drew a 2.07 rating in New York, and a 6.94 in Boston. The rating in New York is the highest ever for a regular season NHL game on the NBCSN/VERSUS/OLN set of networks. Boston's rating is the second-best ever, behind the numbers for the Bruins' banner raising/opening night against the Flyers in October of 2011.
NBC Sports Network has averaged 507,000 through it's first four games of the season. That's up 53 percent from their 2011-12 average, and up 27 percent from the first four games of the 2011-12 season. So, not only did the league come back in a few weeks time and reach new ratings heights, they added a new "big game night" in this Wednesday rivalry thing that could prove to be successful for them in the future.