March 6, 2012 Leave a comment
Montreal and Toronto are often seen as Canada’s two most passionate hockey fanbases, and it didn’t hurt their rivalry game on Saturday that a somewhat surprising coaching change took place just 24 hours before to give it some more juice.
The Maple Leafs-Canadiens showdown, despite neither team being in the playoff picture at the moment (the Leafs are four points out, the Habs last in the East) drew 2.51 million viewers on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, the best numbers CBC’s had for a game this season. It was also the best numbers for CBC since the November 20, 2010 game between Toronto and Montreal. Coverage of the game peaked at 9:30 p.m. ET with 3.37 million tuned in. 7.4 million viewers tuned in to some part of the game, nearly 20% of Canada.
The late game was helped by the big early audience, with the Buffalo Sabres blowout of the Vancouver Canucks still mustering an above average 1.17 million viewers at 10:00 p.m. ET. Aside from Hockey Day in Canada, it was the best audience for the late game since December 10th (CGY vs. EDM: 1.36 million).