SIDNEY CROSBY & DEFENDING STANLEY CUP CHAMPION PENGUINS HOST CANADIANS SUNDAY ON NBC SPORTS; BRUINS HOSTS FLYERS ON SATURDAY
“No doubt, the best player in the world.” – NBC Sports’ Eddie Olczyk on Sidney Crosby
NEW YORK – April 29, 2010 – Sidney Crosby leads the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins against the Montreal Canadians at Mellon Arena in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals on NBC Sports this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. NBC Sports’ third weekend of NHL playoff coverage begins Saturday with another Eastern Conference Semi-Final matchup at 12:30 p.m. ET when the Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden in Game 1 of their series.
Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action for both games. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury.
Fourth-seeded Pittsburgh won its Quarter-Final series, 4-2, over the fifth-seeded Ottawa Senators. Crosby led all players in the first round of the playoffs with 14 points and nine assists, along with five goals. Pittsburgh is 2-1 on NBC this season with all three games being decided by one goal; two needing overtime and one a shootout. Eight-seeded Montreal knocked off top-seeded Washington in seven games. This is the Canadians first appearance on NBC this season.
OLCZYK: “Montreal has a lot of confidence coming off the Washington series. Their goalie is playing well. You could argue that Pittsburgh’s offense is similar to Washington and we know what just happened. But the Penguins have a lot of players with proven playoff experience and, no doubt, the best player in the world. It should be an entertaining series.”
Sixth-seeded Boston defeated third-seeded Buffalo, 4-2, in its Quarter-Final series, while seventh-seeded Philadelphia disposed of second-seeded New Jersey in five games. The two teams kicked off NBC’s 2010 NHL coverage by meeting in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1. The Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1. Boston is a perfect 4-0 on NBC this season, including a 5-3 win over Buffalo in the Quarter-Finals on April 17. The Flyers are 1-2 on NBC in 2010, losing two one-goal games and defeating Washington on the last day of the regular season, 4-3, in a shootout.
OLCZYK: “This series just goes to show that the Winter Classic is a breeding ground for playoff success. The first two winners advanced to the Stanley Cup and one of these teams will advance to at least the conference final. Boston is so strong defensively and in goal. Getting Marc Savard back is a big boost. The Flyers will play big and fast, up tempo. They have the edge in depth.”
FIRST-ROUND VIEWERSHIP: Viewership for NBC Sports’ four 2010 Quarter-Final broadcasts (1.72 million viewers) was up 18 percent compared to 2009 (1.46 million), and the most since 2006. The household rating of a 1.1 for the four games is also the best since 2006. Last Sunday’s Phoenix-Detroit game (1.1) was up 57 percent vs. last year’s Washington-New York Rangers game (0.7). Last Saturday’s Nashville-Chicago game registered a 1.0 rating, which was even with last year’s Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game.
NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com’s “Star-cam” continues in the playoffs. “Star-cam” tracks a player(s) from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.