Mikael Samuelsson whoops it up in Saturday's 4-0 Red Wings triumph in Game 1. ((Paul Sancya/Associated Press))

Television ratings for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final were significantly higher in Canada and the United States than for the previous all-American affair in 2003.

Saturday's opener between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins had an average audience of 2.11 million Canadian viewers on CBC. 

That is nearly 500,000 fewer than Game 1 of last year's final between the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators.

Five years ago, in the last final to feature two U.S. teams, the Ducks and New Jersey Devils attracted 1.29 million for Game 1. 

This year's opener, won 4-0 by Detroit, had a 1.8 rating and 2.3 million viewers in the U.S. — a 157 per cent increase over last year's opening tilt between the Ducks and Ottawa Senators.

It was the highest rating for an NHL game on Versus, and ranked second in the broadcaster's history to the 2.1 rating for Lance Armstrong's final ride in the 2005 Tour de France.

Versus will broadcast Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final before handing the best-of-seven series over to NBC.

CBC is carrying the entire series, including Game 3 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET).

With files from the Canadian Press