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Originally published Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

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NHL returns with strong television rating

NHL fans have tuned in to hockey's return to television.

The Associated Press

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NEW YORK —

NHL fans have tuned in to hockey's return to television.

NBC's broadcast Saturday earned the highest preliminary rating for a non-Winter Classic regular-season game since 2002. The network said Sunday its regional coverage of Blackhawks-Kings and Penguins-Flyers averaged a 2.0 overnight rating. That's up 67 percent from the average for regular-season games on NBC last year.

The abbreviated NHL season opened Saturday after a lockout wiped out the first three months.

Ratings represent the percentage of homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.

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