Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights the big playoff TV draw in Canada

TORONTO — The Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights have intrigued Canadian hockey fans this post-season, if television ratings are any indication.

So it’s not a stretch that the Western Conference final between those two teams will get more Canadian eyes on it than the Eastern Conference final involving the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Jets and Golden Knights were tied 1-1 heading into Wednesday’s Game 3, while the Caps were up 2-1 on the Lightning.

Over a third of Canadians — 13.7 million — tuned in to see the Jets down the Nashville Predators in seven games in the second round of playoffs, according to numbers provided by Sportsnet.

The Golden Knights eliminating the San Jose Sharks in six games drew 11.4 million watchers in Canada.

The Lightning’s five-game series against the Boston Bruins drew 10 million, while the Capitals versus the Pittsburgh Penguins series that went six games reached 9.4 million Canadians.

The improbable run of the Golden Knights in an expansion season — and with 16 Canadian players the most of any playoff roster this year — has been a compelling story in these NHL playoffs.

But that still can’t compete with a Canadian team still in contention for a Stanley Cup.

Even excluding Manitoba, the Jets remained the favourite button on television remotes in Western Canada with 22 per cent more viewers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., watching Winnipeg versus Nashville than the Knights-Sharks series, according to Sportsnet.

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