Team USA forward T.J. Oshie (left) takes a shot on Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in Saturday's preliminary round men's hockey game at Bolshoy Ice Dome. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

Sochi Olympics: Pittsburgh Draws Highest Local Rating For USA-Russia Men's Hockey Game

Pittsburgh loves its hockey, but that passion isn’t limited strictly to the Penguins.

We told you last week that Pittsburgh supports its NHL team like no other fan base in America, and the City of Champions followed that up by turning to their TVs in large numbers Saturday morning for NBC Sports Network’s broadcast of the USA-Russia men’s hockey game.

According to numbers released Monday by NBC public relations, the Pittsburgh market registered a nationwide-best 9.8 rating for the Americans’ thrilling shootout win, which helped the team clinch a bye into Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

The 9.8 rating indicates that nearly 10 percent of all Pittsburgh-area households, on average, were dialed into the game telecast. Boston was close behind at 9.2 and Buffalo was third with 8.5. NBCSN garnered 4.1 million total viewers for the much-anticipated contest, making it the most-watched hockey game in the history of the network.

Having Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik on Team USA may have given Pittsburgh extra incentive to get out of bed early on Saturday. Highlighted by St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie‘s virtuoso 4 for 6 performance in an eight-round shootout, the Americans prevailed 3-2 over the home team at a rowdy Bolshoy Ice Dome. Viewership peaked nationwide at 6.4 million during the 10-10:30 a.m. window, when the game reached its crescendo.

The ratings don’t figure to be as high for Team USA’s quarterfinal matchup at noon Wednesday, but a potential semifinal against Canada on Friday could potentially challenge the ratings from the Russia game. The Americans will have to get past either Slovakia or the Czech Republic first, though.

Related: USA, Canada, Finland earn byes; Evgeni Malkin’s Russia forced to play extra game

Tags: 2014 Winter Olympics Pittsburgh Penguins USA Hockey

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