VANCOUVER — The result may not have been what they wanted to see, but there were certainly plenty of folks back in Boston watching it.
The Bruins' first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final in 21 years drew monster ratings for Game 1's 1-0 loss on Wednesday, especially in Boston. According to NBC, the broadcast drew a 25.5 overnight rating and a 39 share in Boston, easily topping the Boston rating of a 19.1/34 for Game 1 of last year's NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers.
That's just the latest sign of the surging popularity of the city's hockey team, which is trying to join the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots in winning a championship in the last decade.
"It's news to me, but it's great news," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said of the Game 1 ratings. "I think it's awesome. To be honest, back home we could feel that the whole city was behind us and have been all along throughout the playoffs and the season. It means a lot to us. We want to do it for them and we can feel all the support from them."
The Bruins left for Vancouver on Monday with thousands of fans gathering outside the Garden for a raucous sendoff. They've also sold out every home game they've played at the Garden this season.
"It's been great," forward Mark Recchi said. "The whole city's been unbelievable for us since I've been there really. It's a great sports city, a great place to play. It's nice to see the support, and we hope we can finally reward them."
More fans could get the chance to watch the next game, as the Red Sox have moved their Saturday game against Oakland to 1:10 p.m. to not conflict with the Bruins' Game 2 in Vancouver that night.
"That's the respect there is in Boston as far as the Red Sox are concerned," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They're big fans of ours and we're big fans of theirs. That's something that has been going on for a long time now. That's what Boston is all about. They're supportive of all their teams. Obviously, hockey for the longest of times was something so big in Boston. It kind of lost its luster in those difficult times. I think right now what we're seeing is it's certainly coming back in the right direction. It's been a lot of fun being part of it."