If network executives hadn't already gotten the hint that the Washington Capitals were must-see-TV for hockey fans, they did after the 2011 Winter Classic between the Caps and Pittsburgh Penguins, which was the highest-rated regular season game since 1975.
This year, the Capitals are setting new TV viewership marks. According to Steve Lepore at Puck The Media, Monday night's Game 2 between the Capitals and Rangers was the most-watched game of the playoffs on cable (key point there) to this point, with 1.53 million viewers tuning in to NBC Sports Network to watch Washington's 3-2 win.
As it happens, the Caps also played in the second most-watched cable game of these playoffs, as their Game 7 overtime victory over Boston drew 1.32 million viewers on NBCSN. The only other games to draw over a million viewers, according to Lepore's chart, was Games 4 and 5 of the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh series.
Given these numbers, we're sure that NBC executives are praying for a long Caps/Rangers series and an Eastern Conference finals match-up involving the Philadelphia Flyers.