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Monday, February 25
Updated: February 26, 4:12 PM ET
Gold-medal game most watched TV event in Canada

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- This is what the NHL and IOC wanted.

Canada's 5-2 victory over the United States for the gold medal was the highest-rated hockey game -- Olympics or NHL -- on U.S. TV since the 1980 Lake Placid Games.

NBC's live broadcast starting at 2:30 p.m. EST Sunday drew a 10.7 national rating, meaning 10.7 percent of TV homes tuned in. About 38 million people watched at least part of the game.

That's the biggest U.S. network audience in at least 22 years for a game involving NHL players.

In Canada, the game was the most-watched TV program -- sports or otherwise -- in the country's history. An average of more than 8.6 million people (more than a quarter of the population) were tuned in at any given moment to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s telecast of the game.

The previous record for a TV audience in Canada was the 6.7 million who watched Game 6 of the 1992 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves.

NBC's rating for Sunday's hockey game is 49 percent higher than for the Feb. 16 game between Russia and the United States at these Olympics. It's also more than double the top rating at the 1998 Nagano Games (a 4.9 for the United States vs. Canada), the first time the NHL took a break during the regular season to allow its players to participate in the Olympics.

The New York Islanders' deciding Stanley Cup finals Game 6 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on May 25, 1980, drew a 4.4 rating.

The game known as the "Miracle on Ice" -- when a collection of amateur players from the United States upset the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics -- drew a 23.9 national rating in a taped broadcast on ABC. The live telecast of U.S. team's victory over Finland in the gold medal game three days later got a 23.2 rating.

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