Devils

NHL Received Strong TV Ratings On Opening Day

(Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NHL fans have tuned in to hockey’s return to television.

NBC’s broadcast Saturday earned the highest preliminary rating for a non-Winter Classic regular-season game since 2002. The network said Sunday its regional coverage of Blackhawks-Kings and Penguins-Flyers averaged a 2.0 overnight rating. That’s up 67 percent from the average for regular-season games on NBC last year.

The abbreviated NHL season opened Saturday after a lockout wiped out the first three months.

The New Jersey Devils were ready for the start of the lockout-shortened season.

David Clarkson’s goal at 8:17 of the third period sent the Devils to a 2-1 season-opening win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.

As for the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist did everything he could to limit the Bruins to three goals, but the Blueshirts were outclassed at TD Garden on the opening night of the NHL.

Ratings represent the percentage of homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country’s largest markets.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)