Versus shoots and scores with NHL playoffs

– The Chicago Blackhawks may have lost its Western Conference Finals series with the arch rival Detroit Red Wings, but they were big winners locally in the ratings.

Despite the fact Versus isn’t carried on a few systems (WOW to name a few), Game 5 still earned a 7.1 household rating Wednesday night where the Wings beat the Hawks to win the series and to go to the Stanley Cup Finals to play the Pittsburgh Penguins beginning tonight.

Nationally, Versus broke a personal record Wednesday with the Hawks-Wings game drawing 1.6 million viewers.

In Detroit, the ratings were even higher. Game 5 drew an astounding 15.9 household rating on Versus – even with CBC carrying the game (Detroit viewers can receive CBET-Channel 9, CBC’s affiliate out of nearby Windsor, Ont. over-the-air and cable.) And even more astounding, Game 2 of the Hawks-Wings series even drew more viewers than American Idol finale in Detroit, which aired the following night.

The Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes also fared well for Versus, with Game 4 setting a ratings cable record for hockey in Pittsburgh.

Overall, ratings for Versus’ coverage of the NHL Conference Finals are up 25 percent in households from one year ago.