The Penguins long ago were blown out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Pittsburghers definitely didn't tune out.
NBC announced Thursday that its total audience for Game 7 the previous night, in which the Blues beat the Bruins for their first championship, averaged 8.914 million viewers across all platforms, making it the most watched NHL game on record. On streaming alone, the game drew a record 191,500 viewers. The Stanley Cup Final as a whole averaged 5.468 million viewers.
The current Nielsen measuring system began in 1994, but NBC added that Game 7 is "believed to be the most-watched NHL game in 45-plus years, when different measurement tools were used to record viewership, making it difficult to verify."
The previous record game, not coincidentally, was the previous time there was a Game 7 in the Final, in 2011 between the Bruins and Canucks. That drew a total audience of 8.914 million.
Predictably, the participating cities were the top two markets for TV ratings for Game 7:
1. St. Louis, 41.8
2. Boston, 30.2
3. Providence, R.I., 24.4
4. Buffalo, N.Y., 13.9
5. Kansas City, Mo., 10.1
6. Fort Myers, Fla., 9.4 7. Pittsburgh, 9.2
8. Hartford, Conn., 8.4
9. Las Vegas, 7.6
10. Denver, 7.4
Setting aside the markets with direct ties to the two teams -- Providence, Kansas City, Fort Myers (where the Red Sox conduct spring training), and Hartford -- Pittsburgh finished behind only Buffalo in the ratings.
For the Stanley Cup Final as a whole, Pittsburgh finished sixth with a 5.3. And for the playoffs as a whole, including the Penguins' four games, Pittsburgh finished fifth with a 2.0.