NHL Playoffs First-Round Ratings Surge, Led By Boston-Toronto Game 7

Round 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, and the ratings are anything but icy — especially for the record-setting Game 7 of the Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs series.

The games averaged 934,000 viewers in the U.S. across multiple networks, making it the second-most-watched first round ever, the league said today.

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The numbers are better for North America, averaging 2.2 million viewers, a 6% surge over the 2023 playoffs.

Leading the charge was Saturday’s Game 7 between Original Six rivals the Bruins and Maple Leafs, which delivered 3.22 million viewers on ABC. That game was more widely watched when factoring in hockey-mad Canada, with 8.82 million tuning in across North America on ABC, CBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports — making it the most-watched first-round game across North America on record.

It also was the most-viewed Game 7 of a Stanley Cup first round ever, the most-viewed first-round game since 2012 and the third-most-viewed first-round game on record.

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The Bruins won the game 2-1, handing the Leafs their seventh first-round loss in eight seasons and leading to Mad Canada. No team from the Great White North has won the Stanley Cup since 1993.

The first-round games aired in the U.S. across ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, TNT, TBS, TruTV and streamer Max.

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Round 2 faced off Sunday, with Game 1 of the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes on ESPN averaging 2 million viewers (peaking at 2.7 million). That win for the Presidents’;’ Trophy-winning Blueshirts was up 49% and 33%, respectively from the Game 1 average of the second round last season. On Monday night, the visiting Boston Bruins clobbered last year’s Stanley Cup runner-up the Florida Panthers 5-1.

The second round continues tonight with Game 2 of Carolina-New York Rangers in the East and Game 1 of the Dallas Stars hosting the Colorado Avalanche in the West.

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