The Caps big 3-1 win over the Pens in Saturday night's Winter Classic was a hit both locally as well as nationwide.

NBC4 in Washington as well as WBAL TV11 pulled strong local ratings for the game. DC was #2 overall in the country with a 7.6 rating with a 13 share while in Baltimore where it was the #3 highest rated maket nationally it pulled  a 6.6 rating with an 11 share.

Nationally it was the most watched NHL telecast since 1975.

Despite changing the start time from 1 p.m. ET to 8 p.m.  due to weather, which saw the game to compete against other NHL games involving eight U.S. markets, 4.5 million viewers watched the Capitals defeat the Penguins, 3-1, at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, surpassing the 4.4 million who watched the 2009 Winter Classic that saw the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-4, at iconic Wrigley Field as the most-watched NHL regular-season game since Feb. 23, 1975 (5.4 million, Philadelphia-New York Rangers on NBC). The 2011 Classic was also up 22 percent vs. last year’s overtime game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins from iconic Fenway Park (3.7 million).

4.5 million            Jan. 1, 2011    NBC            Capitals-Penguins
4.4 million            Jan. 1, 2009    NBC            Red Wings-Blackhawks
3.8 million            Jan. 27, 1996    FOX            Six-game regional coverage
3.8 million            Jan. 1, 2008    NBC            Penguins-Sabres
3.7 million            Jan. 1, 2010    NBC            Flyers-Bruins

The rating peaked at a 2.4/4 in both the 8-8:30 p.m. ET and 8:30-9 p.m. ET half hours. Pittsburgh led all markets with a 32.0 rating, which is up 81 percent from the 17.7 rating the market posted for the inaugural Winter Classic (2008), in which the Penguins competed against the Sabres in Buffalo in snow globe-like conditions with the winning goal provided by  Sidney Crosby in a shootout.

Following are the Top 10 metered markets for the 2010 Winter Classic:
1. Pittsburgh, 32.0/46
2. Washington D.C., 7.6/13
3. Baltimore, 6.6/11
4. Buffalo, 5.3/8
T5. St. Louis, 4.3/7
T5. Denver, 4.3/7
7. Boston, 4.0/7
8. Richmond, 3.8/6
9. Philadelphia, 3.5/6
10. Columbus, 3.4/6

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