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CBC draws 1.13 million viewers for NHL Winter Classic

TORONTO - The CBC drew a modest 1.13 million viewers for Monday's NHL Winter Classic that saw the New York Rangers defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.

The league's marquee regular-season game, usually played on Jan. 1, was pushed back a day this year and had its 1 p.m. ET start time delayed by two hours due to weather conditions.

Last year's Winter Classic drew an audience of 1.9 million viewers on CBC, but the game between the Capitals and Penguins was moved to prime time because of bad weather in Pittsburgh.

By comparison, CBC combined to attract 2.38 million viewers for three simultaneous games played Dec. 17 between Vancouver and Toronto, New Jersey and Montreal, and Anaheim and Winnipeg.

A doubleheader that featured the Canucks visiting Ottawa and Detroit hosting the Jets drew a combined 1.59 million viewers on Dec. 10.

Game 7 of last season's Stanley Cup final between Boston and Vancouver drew an average audience of 8.76 million and a peak of 11.2 million on CBC. The introduction of a new ratings measurement system in 2009 has seen sports TV ratings skyrocket.

Meanwhile south of the border, Monday's Winter Classic was the fifth-most watched regular-season NHL game in 37 years.

New York's victory at Citizens Bank Park, the fifth edition of the outdoor game, averaged 3.74 million viewers on NBC, according to fast national data provided by Nielsen Media Research.

The game produced a 2.1 rating and 4 share, tying the 2010 game. Last year's prime time game had a 2.3 rating and 4 share. The rating this year grew every half hour from 5 p.m. ET until the end of the game.

The 2010 game, featuring the Flyers at Boston's Fenway Park against the Bruins—the last Winter Classic played during the afternoon—was watched by 3.68 million.

Last year's game was postponed into a night game because of rain at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. The matchup between Alex Ovechkin's Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Penguins drew 4.5 million viewers, the most-watched, regular-season NHL game since 1975.

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