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NHL draws record TV ratings on opening night

Penguins-Flyers sets NBCSN regular-season standard; Canadiens-Maple Leafs tops Sportsnet mark @NHLdotcom

The return of the NHL and the first games played in the Scotia North Division drew record TV ratings in the United States and Canada on Wednesday.

The opening game of the season, between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, averaged 972,000 viewers on NBCSN in the United States, making it the network's most-watched regular-season game ever. 

NBCSN's opening night tripleheader, which included the Chicago Blackhawks against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues against the Colorado Avalanche, averaged 774,000 viewers, making it the network's most-watched multigame opening night on record.

The first two games between teams in the North Division, made up of the seven NHL teams based in Canada, drew record numbers on Sportsnet in Canada.  

The first game, between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, drew 2.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched regular-season game exclusively aired on the network, with an additional 919,000 on TVA Sports. Combined across the English and French networks, the game posted 3.057 million viewers. 

The North Division doubleheader on Sportsnet, which included the Edmonton Oilers playing the Vancouver Canucks, had an overall coverage reaching 6.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched opening night in Sportsnet history. 

The NHL season, which has been condensed to 56 games and was delayed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, continues Friday with five games, including a MassMutual East Division rematch of the Penguins and Flyers (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, NBCSP, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV) and a North Division game between the Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, TSN4, NHL.TV).

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