NHL Playoffs Up 43% Over First Two Days

Bolstered by NBCSN’s coverage of the triple overtime affair in which St. Louis took down defending champion Chicago, viewership of NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the NHL postseason rose 43% over the first two days.

NBCSN and CNBC averaged 448,000 viewers over seven telecasts, compared with 313,000 on average for six games a year ago, according to Nielsen data.

The second day of 2014 opening-round playoff action on NBCSN and CNBC averaged 428,000 viewers, up 35% from day 2 of the corresponding period a year ago.

As alluded to above, the Blues’ 4-3 win over the Blackhawks in the third overtime period -- Alexander Steen (pictured) ended matters 26 seconds into that stanza -- played big on April 17, averaging 697,000 viewers, making it NBCSN’s second-best, first-round game to date, trailing the 844,000 watchers for Philadelphia-Pittsburgh on April 11, 2012. St. Louis-Chicago peaked with just over 1 million viewers in the 11:15 p.m. (ET) quarter hour.

The Blues-Blackhawks game set streaming records on NBC Sports Live Extra, registering the most live starts,161,000, for an authentication-required NHL game, topping two 2013 Stanley Cup Final games. The game also set first-round records in live minutes (2.7 million), uniques (52,000), and visits (60,814),surpassing all unauthenticated first-round games in 2012 and 2013 in those categories.

As for other April 17 action, the Los Angeles-San Jose game on NBCSN averaged 381,000 viewers, 25% more than in NBCSN’s comparable window last year with Detroit-Anaheim.

CNBC’s early game, matching Philadelphia and the New York Rangers from 7 p.m. through 9:38 p.m., averaged 284,000 viewers, up 11% from the network’s comparable window last year with Ottawa-Montreal.

CNBC’s second contest, Colorado’s 5-4 triumph over Minnesota in overtime, netted an average audience of 178,000 from 9:38 p.m. to 12:53 a.m.