The Detroit Red Wings' second victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins earned a higher television rating on Versus than the opener and was the most-watched Stanley Cup finals cable telecast in 6 years.

Detroit's 3-0 win on Monday night, its second straight shutout in the series, earned a 1.9 national rating and averaged over 2.5 million viewers. Game 1, a 4-0 win by the Red Wings, garnered a 1.8 rating.

The latest mark was the best for an NHL game on Versus, topping the series opener, and was second to Lance Armstrong's final ride in the 2005 Tour de France for the highest-rated telecast in the network's history (2.1).

The combination of Games 1 and 2 made this the highest-rated and most-watched opening two games of the finals since Detroit faced Carolina in 2002. Versus' combined ratings went up 273 percent from last year when Anaheim played Ottawa and 181 percent from the Carolina-Edmonton matchup in 2006.

Versus telecasts only the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. NBC will show the remainder of the series in the United States, beginning with Game 3 in Pittsburgh last night.


* Penguins assistant coach Andre Savard, a former Canadiens general manager, appears to be a strong contender for the Florida Panthers' coaching job.

Savard is in a unique position in his Penguins' job: He is working for coach Michel Therrien, whom he fired as Canadiens' coach while serving as Montreal's GM from 2000-03. He later was Montreal's assistant GM. Despite that, Therrien hired Savard before the 2006-07 season.

Savard is a former NHL center who had 211 goals and 271 assists while playing for the Bruins, Sabres and Quebec Nordiques. *