Even if you knew how it would end, you watched one more time. According to overnight estimates, 5,063,000 watched Saturday’s seventh and deciding Stanley Cup opening round game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.

The breakdown from last Saturday night’s live+ same day tally was 2,386,000 watching on Sportsnet National; 2,291,000 on CBC and another 386,000 on Citytv. (All estimated based on Live + same day viewing).

Thousands more will have watched on digital platforms. It was the only NHL playoff game on that night.

The five million viewer threshold is rarely breached for anything other that Super Bowls in Canada and not for any Stanley Cup games in my memory. Some Leafs fans clearly hopped back on the bandwagon after the team rallied down three games to one to tie up the series heading into the final match.

The Bruins’ overtime victory, however, was the same, Groundhog Day result for long-suffering Leafs fans — the fourth Game Seven defet in a row in series action between the two Originl Six rivals.

Two Canadian teams remain in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup: the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers. Since they will play each other in Round 2 (starting Wednesday), at least one Canadian team will make it into the third round. If that team makes it into the final round, and wins, many Canadian hockey fans wil rejoice — but there still won’t be five million of them who watch.


Rogers Sports & Media owns Sportsnet and Citytv and reaps ad revenue from CBC playoff broadcasts. A decade into their 12-year, $5.2 billion NHL rights deal, they have to feel snakebit. Some consolation for new Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment CEO Keith Pelley — one of the architects of the right deal — is that Leafs still can deliver a massive audience. Could six or seven million be swayed to watch if the team ever won a Stanley Cup? Pelley will not want to wait another 58 years to find out.

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