Massive ratings for Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 7

The Bruins’ 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series ranks on a very short list of the most exciting games ever televised on NESN.

(Should you require further confirmation, the above clip should suffice.)

Not surprisingly, it also ranks among the highest-rated.

The game earned a 16.8 rating and a 26 share in the Boston DMA Monday night. It is the third-highest-rated Bruins game on the network since NESN’s inception in 1984.

The highest-rated game remains Game 7 of last year’s first-round series with the Capitals, which earned a 19.6 on April 25, 2012. Second is Game 7 of the Bruins’ first-round series with the Canadiens on April 27, 2011, which had a 17.7 rating.

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NESN’s game coverage during the seven-game series averaged a 11.7 household rating.

The quarter-hour breakdowns of viewership as the Bruins fell behind, 4-1, then rallied to victory are fascinating.

NESN did not lose much audience in the third period as the game seemed to be out of reach for the Bruins, but it gained significant audience late in the third period and overtime.

From approximately 8:30 p.m. to 8:45, which covered the end of the second period, the game had a 19.2 rating. That dipped to the high 14s during the approximately 17-minute intermission.

As the third period began at 9 p.m., the rating rose to 17.4. At 9:15, in the range in which the Leafs took a 4-1 lead, the rating dipped to 16.8.

Then, the comeback …

At 9:30-9:45, the rating rose to 19.4. From 9:45-10, which included the final moments of the third period and part of intermission, it climbed again to 20.2.

The period from 10-10:15, which included overtime and Patrice Bergeron’s winning goal, was the high-water mark, with a 23.3 rating and a 36 share.

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