The Buffalo Sabres had one victory Thursday night – in prime time ratings.
The National Hockey League team's 3-2 loss in a shootout to Montreal scored a 10.9 rating on MSG over the three hours, which indicates fans are hopeful at the start of the season. The rating peaked at 14.0 for the overtime and the shootout.
The rating was almost 50 percent higher than the 7.4 rating for last season's opener, a 4-1 loss to Montreal in a game that star Jack Eichel was out with an injury. The Sabres averaged a 6.2 rating for the entire 2016-17 season.
Thursday's rating was in the ballpark of the 10.7 rating for the 3-1 loss in the season opener against Ottawa in Eichel's first season in 2015-16.
As impressive as the rating for the opener is, the Sabres aren't close to the Buffalo Bills as a TV attraction; the last two Bills games had ratings close to 37 on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate.
To put the rating in further perspective, no prime time program on a broadcast network scored as high locally on Thursday.
New England's 19-14 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football had a 10.1 rating on Channel 4.
The highest-rated entertainment program was NBC's second episode of the reboot of "Will & Grace" with a 6.8 rating for a half hour on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2). NBC's "Chicago Fire" had a 6.6 rating for its hour on Channel 2 and "Grey's Anatomy" a 6.1 rating for an hour on WKBW-TV (Channel 7).