Playoff primer: Are you ready for some hockey?

Playoff primer: Are you ready for some hockey?
April 22, 2014, 5:30 pm
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News and notes as the Stanley Cup playoffs continue with four games on tap tonight [times and channels below]:

Home ice: Heading into Tuesday night’s action, home teams were 15-6 [.714] in the playoffs. All 11 Western Conference games have been won by the home team.

Rally towels: The winning team has had to overcome a two-goal deficit in six games, just two fewer than the total for the entire 2013 postseason.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash: Columbus blue liner Jack Johnson became the first defenseman since Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa in 2011 to score in each of the first three games of a playoff series, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

No relation to Bruce: Columbus forward Boone Jenner scored his first playoff goal. He has a point in each of his three postseason appearances [1-2-3] and has 2-4-6 in his last five games overall. Jenner is no relation to former Olympian and current reality TV star Bruce Jenner, but his uncle, Billy Carroll, won the Stanley Cup four times as a member of the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers.

Varly time: Former Caps goalie and current Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov set a franchise record by making 22 saves in the first period Monday night.

[RELATED: Another NHL healing for former Capitals bad boy]

Tonight’s slate:

Tampa Bay @ Montreal [Canadiens lead 3-0] 7 p.m., CBC, RDS, NHLN-US, FS-F
Boston @ Detroit [Series tied 1-1] 7:30 p.m., TSN, NBCSN, NESN, FS-D
NY Rangers @ Philadelphia [Series tied 1-1] 8 p.m., TSN2, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH
San Jose @ Los Angeles [Sharks lead 2-0] 10 p.m., CBC, RDS (JIP), NBCSN, CSN-CA, PRIME

Viewers’ note: For the third consecutive year, every Stanley Cup playoff game is being televised nationally in the United States, on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and NHL Network. Not sure where to find the game? Use our channel finder:

Look ahead: Edmonton Oilers defenseman and Stanley Cup winner Andrew Ference will join NBCSN’s first-round Stanley Cup Playoff coverage on Wednesday and Thursday as a studio analyst on NHL Live.

Ference is a veteran of more than 950 NHL regular-season and Stanley Cup playoff games, and won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Boston Bruins in 2011. Ference will work alongside Mike Milbury on Wednesday night, and Keith Jones on Thursday night, handling coverage of doubleheaders on NBCSN.

Ratings boom: On the strength of a new playoff format that has emphasized divisional rivalries in the first round, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the first five days of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs has generated significant viewership and consumption increases for its coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and NBC Sports Live Extra. 

NBC’s coverage of Blues-Blackhawks on Saturday was up 52 percent from the comparable 2013 game, viewership of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs on cable is up 63 percent vs. 2013, and nearly 19 million minutes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were consumed on NBC Sports Live Extra through the first five days of the postseason, up 532 percent vs. the same timeframe in 2013.