Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates in the locker room with the Stanley Cup after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Scott Audette | National Hockey League | Getty Images
The final numbers are in, and the National Hockey League attracted 3.6 million viewers for Game 5 of its Stanley Cup Final on NBC, the league’s last season on the network.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens, 1-0, to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. As with pro basketball, the NHL’s main event is off schedule due to the pandemic. But compared with the 2020 Stanley Cup, which was played last September, viewership recovered.
This series averaged 2.52 million viewers. The 2020 series, featuring the Lightning and Dallas Stars, averaged roughly 2 million viewers throughout six games. The 2019 Stanley Cup Final featured the Boston Bruins — one of the “original six” hockey clubs in the NHL — and St. Louis Blues and averaged 5.3 million viewers throughout seven games.
The first four games of the 2021 series averaged a total audience delivery — linear, cable and streaming combined — of 2.23 million viewers on NBC’s broadcast network and sports channel, NBCSN.
The NHL ended its 16-year relationship with NBC this year and moved to ESPN and WarnerMedia. The league increased its…