Another successful round appears to have finally turned up the heat on playoff fever for the Ottawa Senators.
Before the second round against the New York Rangers, tickets for a home game were available on online seller StubHub for $57.50, but the cheapest ticket for Game 1 of the third-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins has already reached $105.
The most expensive seat at the Canadian Tire Centre is currently listed for $2,000, while the most expensive ticket for the Rangers series was $325.
John Couse, owner of the Lieutenant's Pump on Elgin, said he’s definitely noticed more interest from fans.
“We have much bigger crowds than we did in the first round for sure.”
He said the night Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the team to victory with a four-goal performance got a lot of people invested.
“The game that Pageau scored four goals was I think the turning point,” he said. “After that game we have seen a lot of enthusiasm. It’s great.”
Couse said people are generally excited about the team and surprised to see them going so deep into the playoffs.
“I don’t think anyone imagined we would be this far into the playoffs. It has taken a lot of people by surprise.”
While there are many signs of mounting enthusiasm locally for the Senators, one of the country’s largest sports broadcasters says NHL playoff television ratings took a slight dip in the second round in series involving Canadian teams.
Rogers Sportsnet said in a release Thursday that an average of 1.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the Edmonton versus Anaheim and Ottawa versus New York Rangers conference semifinals.
That number is down marginally from the reported 1.8 million that took in the five opening-round series involving Canadian teams. Calgary, Montreal and Toronto were also competing at that point.
The release said overall numbers were up, however, with the average audience for all series in Round 2 at 1.5 million, an increase of 200,000 from Round 1.
The release said the most-watched game so far remains Game 2 of Toronto's first-round series against Washington with an average audience of 3.64 million. The most-watched game of Round 2 was Game 6 of the Ottawa New York series, with an average audience of 2.4 million.
The numbers are up significantly from last year when no Canadian teams made the post-season. Through the first five days of the 2016 playoffs, Rogers averaged just over half a million viewers.
The Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday.
–With reporting by the Canadian Press
This article originally appeared in Metro News.