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