Still, if NBC put all Blackhawks-Red Wings games on a sheet of ice at Wrigley …


The NHL press release store just put this one up for sale, and maybe cause NBC to think twice about sending an OT NHL playoff game over to Versus so it can join a horse race pre-game show in progress:

Sunday’s Western Conference Final, featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, registered a 2.0 overnight metered market rating, making it the most-watched broadcast of a NHL on NBC game, excluding the NHL Winter Classic and Stanley Cup Final games, since NBC resumed its partnership with the NHL in 2005-06.

The rating marked a 33-percent increase over last season’s comparable Conference Final game on NBC (Dallas Stars at Detroit, Game Five, May 17, 2008), and is the highest metered-market rating on a national, over-the-air rightsholder for a Conference Final game in six years (Game One of the Anaheim Ducks/Minnesota Wild, May 10, 2003).

Sunday’s 2.0/5 rating/share also is up 18 percent from the comparable Sunday Conference Final broadcast on NBC last year (Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, Game Five, May 18, 2008) which averaged a 1.7/4.

Overnight, Sunday’s NBC Blackhawks/Red Wings broadcast averaged a 16.9/38 share in Detroit, and 7.7/19 share in Chicago. Rounding out the top five markets: Pittsburgh (4.0), Buffalo (3.4), Columbus (2.2) and Denver (1.9). Top non-NHL markets were as follows: Cleveland (3.1), Norfolk (2.6), Charlotte (2.3), Birmingham (2.0), West Palm (2.0), Memphis (1.9) and Providence (1.9).

Los Angeles: a 1.1 rating, reaching 62,197 homes. Maybe because most in L.A. were watching the Lakers-Rockets Game 7 at the same time on ABC.

Tonight’s Game 2 of the series (4:30 p.m.) and Friday’s Game 3 (5 p.m.) are on Versus. Sunday’s Game 4 is back on NBC (noon).

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