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Hockey Night In Canada Returns With Record Viewership

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Montreal Canadiens' David Desharnais (51) slides in on Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ben Scrivens and Leafs' Dion Phaneuf (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)
Montreal Canadiens' David Desharnais (51) slides in on Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ben Scrivens and Leafs' Dion Phaneuf (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)

TORONTO - CBC is touting the long-awaited return of "Hockey Night in Canada" — and its Saturday night viewers.

The public broadcaster says it drew record numbers for the first NHL broadcast of the season Jan. 19.

CBC says the battle between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens drew a record average audience of 3.3 million viewers.

Citing ratings data from the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement, CBC bills that showdown as the most-watched regular season Prime East game ever on the network.

And is says that an afternoon game featuring the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets drew an average audience of 1.49 million viewers, breaking another record for a Saturday afternoon game.

Meanwhile, nearly 1.47 million viewers took in the Anaheim Ducks/Vancouver Canucks match-up at 10 p.m. ET.

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