The Vancouver Canucks
and Boston Bruins
opened the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with a thriller -- and the television ratings reflect it.
Wednesday night's Game 1 drew a combined viewership of 10.9 million between NBC, CBC and RDS, the highest for a Final opener since records started being kept in 1994. It was also an increase of 36 percent over Game 1 of the 2010 Final between Chicago and Philadelphia. The game drew 4.6 million viewers on NBC, 5.6 million on CBC and another 714,000 on French-language RDS.
The next-highest rating for a Game 1 came in the 1997 Final, when 8.9 million viewers in North America tuned in to see Detroit and Philadelphia face off.
The 10.9 million viewers also made the Canucks-Bruins opener the fifth-highest viewed Stanley Cup Final game in North America on record, trailing only four games that were Cup clinchers: Game 6 of last year's Blackhawks-Flyers series (13.4 million); Game 7 of the 2009 Final between Pittsburgh and Detroit (12.7 million); Game 7 of the 2004 Final between Tampa Bay and Calgary (11.8 million); and Game 7 of the 1994 Final between the New York Rangers