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Stanley Cup Final ratings up about 75 percent here from year ago

This is what I'm thinking:

Nashville's 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday to tie the series at two games apiece had an 11.0 rating on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2), the local NBC affiliate.

The hockey series now has an average local rating of 8.6 for the four games, two of which were on cable's NBCSN.

By comparison, the first four games in Pittsburgh's six-game series victory over the San Jose Sharks a year ago averaged a 4.8 local rating. That means the ratings this year are up about 75 percent from a year ago. The big reason is the ratings of the two games on cable this year are twice as high as they were a year ago.

Before Monday's huge number, the two games in the NBA Finals between all the superstars on Golden State and Cleveland had a higher average rating here than the first three games of the Cup Final.

The 11 local rating Monday propelled the four games in the Cup Final to be in line with the first two NBA Finals games, which averaged about an 8.5 rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), the local ABC affiliate. Nationally, the NBA series is getting ratings well above the Stanley Cup Final.

Monday's hockey game peaked on Channel 2 with a 14.2 rating at 9:30 p.m. in the second period.

The high-profile guests during the first and second intermissions, Carrie Underwood (the wife of Nashville's Mike Fisher), and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, didn't prevent a ratings decline during the break in action. But those intermissions still had strong ratings. Underwood's appearance during the first intermission had a 9.5 rating, Barkley's appearance in the second intermission an 8.9 rating.

Singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood, wife of Predators forward Mike Fisher, has been a fixture at games. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Sir Charles, who has repeatedly said during this postseason that the hockey playoffs have been much more interesting than the basketball playoffs, set an unofficial record for the use of the word "amazing" in his brief appearance.

His appearance was a great public relations boost for the National Hockey League.

However, he also brought up one of the league's more embarrassing moments. He praised the 2013 "30 for 30" ESPN documentary, "Big Shot," on John Spano Jr. without mentioning his first name or that the NHL approved his purchase of the New York Islanders before discovering Spano was a fraud and didn't have the money to buy the team. He ended up serving a federal prison sentence.

Barkley called the "30 for 30" documentary "the greatest hockey story ever" and "one of the most amazing, crazy things to happen in sports."

Sir Charles must have forgotten "The Miracle on Ice" and other great hockey stories but hyperbole often is part of his game.

But the laugh out-loud moment of Barkley's appearance may have come when NBC studio analyst Mike Milbury tried to get Barkley to compare blocking a basketball shot with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne stopping shots. Now that was amazing – and not in a good way.

The first of two episodes of "Live with Kelly and Ryan" from Niagara Falls, Ont., Monday had a 5.1 rating on Channel 7, well above the 2.9 rating it averaged a week ago.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley was back in his seat for Monday's broadcast even though it was widely reported last week that he is being replaced. He is expected to get a chance to say goodbye shortly. The suspense of when it will happen could help ratings for the newscast.


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