Think Habsmania hasn't gripped all of Canada? Wednesday night's Montreal Canadiens triumph over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the seventh game of their quarterfinal series drew 4,239,000 on CBC according to overnight estimates from BBM Canada. That more than doubled CTV's American Idol take the same night (2,034,000) and tripled the audience for an episode of Bones on Global (1,409,000).
It's also the largest NHL playoff tally on CBC since 2002 and the sixth-highest ever according to a CBC release. The game also drew 130,000 on-line who streamed it live at CBC.ca.
UPDATE: Factor in the 2.45 million who watched the game on RDS--the highest audience ever recorded for the French language service, topping the Vancouver Olympic numbers--and nearly 6.8 million Canadians watched the underdog Canadiens emerge victorious.
Hockey is heating up in general as the playoffs continue. Game 6 of the Habs-Pens on Monday did 2.9 million on CBC, with Game 5 Saturday topping 3 million in overnight estimates. CBC will miss the Vancouver Canucks, however. the Canucks-Chicago Blackhawks game Sunday found another 3,029,000, with the Canucks late Tuesday night exit drawing over 2.5 million nationally.
TSN scored when they had the Habs, pulling 2.8 million for the first round elimination of the Washington Capitals.