NEW YORK -- NHL television ratings have bounced back from the post-lockout doldrums -- and way beyond.
The clincher of the Stanley Cup finals was the most-watched and highest-rated NHL game in 36 years. The Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6, which earned them their first championship since 1961, drew a 4.7 rating and 8 share Wednesday night on NBC.
That's the best since a 7.6/27 for Game 6 of the Boston Bruins-Flyers series in 1974. It was 38 percent higher than the 3.4/6 for last year's Pittsburgh Penguins-Detroit Red Wings Game 6 and 9 percent higher than the 4.3/8 for Game 7 in 2009.
The network said Thursday that the game was watched by 8.28 million viewers.
The series' average rating was a 3.4/6, the best on network TV since the Carolina Hurricanes-Red Wings series in 2002 and up 10 percent from last year.
"This has been a special year for hockey beginning with the Winter Classic continuing through the Olympics and ending with this incredibly exciting Stanley Cup final," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said in a release.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.
Game 6 drew a 32.8 rating and 50 share in Chicago, which means that half of all homes with televisions in use were tuned into the game.