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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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Ken Schott blogs about college hockey & more

Stanley Cup conference finals viewership up 111 percent

NBC Sports Groups coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup conference finals were the most watched in 17 years and up 111 percent from last year, according to data provided by The Nielsen Company on Tuesday.

The conference finals averaged 2.646 million viewers across NBC (two games) and NBC Sports Network (seven games). Last year, NBC Sports Group averaged 1.254 million viewers.

In 1996, 13 games aired across FOX and ESPN averaged 2.863 million viewers.

Saturday's double-overtime 4-3 victory by the Chicago Blackhawks over the Los Angeles Kings, which clinched the series for the Blackhawks, earned NBC Sports a 2.2 rating and had 3.813 million viewers. It was NBC's most-watched non-Stanley Cup final playoff game ever (since 2006), and the most-watched conference final game in 16 years (Colorado-Detroit, May 26, 1997, ESPN, 3.907 million).

Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, games airing on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC are averaging 1.074 million viewers, making the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs the second-most watched in 16 years (1997, FOX and ESPN, 1.237 million), behind only last year (NBC, NBCSN and CNBC, 1.089 million).

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