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Television ratings for start of NHL playoffs reaching pre-lockout levels

The NHL playoffs have been a ratings success both in Canada and the United States, according to numbers released by the league.

According to the NHL, CBC is averaging 1,268,000 viewers for 10 broadcasts through April 18, a 33 per cent increase over last season's average of 951,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, TSN is averaging 992,000 viewers for nine telecasts over the same period, a 112 per cent increase over last year (467,000 viewers).

In the United States, playoff television ratings are reaching pre-lockout levels.

The first five nights of coverage on Versus have the highest cable ratings for the beginning of the post-season since 2002. The average of 543,000 viewers is up 21 per cent from last year.

The league has been helped by close games. For the first time since the current playoff format was adopted in 1987, all eight first-round series were tied 1-1 after two games.

? With files from The Associated Press.

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