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Television ratings up for start of NHL playoffs

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK (AP) -Television ratings for the start of the NHL playoffs are reaching pre-lockout levels.

The first five nights of coverage on Versus have the highest cable ratings for the beginning of the postseason since 2002. The average of 543,000 viewers is up 21 percent from last year.

The league has been helped by close games. For the first time since the current playoff format was adopted in 1987, all eight first-round series were tied 1-1 after two games.

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