After all, the Sabres’ meaningless loss to the Philadelphia Flyers’ Sunday afternoon averaged a 16.4 rating and 36 share on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate. To put that in perspective, the Easter Sunday game had higher local ratings than every network series in prime time Sunday night and almost every program all week.
Playoff ratings are expected to be even higher:
The Sabres can be expected to get ratings in the 20s on — and maybe even the 30s — during their first-round series with the New York Islanders. The series will be televised in its entirety on MSG. Versus, the NHL’s national cable partner, will be carrying five of the seven possible games but it will be blacked out here.
Obviously, the ratings for the entire season have been fantastic and no market in the NHL came remotely close to matching Buffalo's TV success. MSG is capitalizing on the team's drawing power by now offering a half-hour pre-game special as well as extended post-game coverage.