The visiting New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2 on Jan. 2, in an NHL Winter Classic outdoor hockey game for the ages. It was loaded with excitement and ended with the Flyers failing to tie on a penalty shot with 19 seconds to go.
In a last minute scramble as the Flyers were desperately jamming the net, Ranger defenceman Ryan McDonagh dove into his crease and corralled the puck, replays showing he tucked in under his body as he slid. The refs felt his hand covered it as he was doing so and awarded a penalty shot.
Looking to send the game into overtime, and the 46,967 faithful at Citizen's Bank Park (where the Phillies play) into hysterics, Daniel Briere skated on Henrik Lundqvist. The outdoor ice had stood up well but with the game all but over Briere looked like he decided a deft deke might be thwarted by ice chips. He skated up to a few feet in front of Lundqvist and suddenly snapped a shot five-hole. Lundqvist stopped it.
Flyers Lose Lead, Rangers Win Third
The game featured a great deal of up and down action, some rough play, and the teams trading leads. After a scoreless first, Philadelphia took a 2-0 in the second on defenceman Brayden Schenn's first career NHL goal and super-scorer Claude Giroux' nifty backhander. Giroux' marker came at 14:21 and the Rangers started the comeback 30 seconds later when Mike Rupp got just his second of the year.
Rupp did a Jaromir Jagr-like salute at the Flyer bench after the goal, which Flyer fans took as a dis and booed him for. Jagr had hurt his leg in the first and was out of the game and so did not get a chance to score himself after that. After the game Rupp downplayed the incident saying he was simply happy that he'd scored. No word on the extent of Jagr's injury.
Rangers Take Winter Classic in Third
In the third, Rupp scored again when his wrist shot somehow managed to find its way under Sergei Bobrovsky's shoulder at 2:41. Three minutes later New York had the lead when Brad Richards knocked in a rebound from in close. The Flyers fought hard trying to tie, even after Briere missing the penalty shot they had the puck all around the next, but failed to put it by Lundqvist, the game's first star.
Final shots were 36-33 in favor of the Flyers. With the win New York solidifies their overall lead in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers have 52 points, 3 up on the Boston Bruins, 4 up on the Flyers and 5 up on the Florida Panthers.
It is the fifth NHL Winter Classic and the first to be played in Philadelphia. Other cities hosting the outdoor game, from 2008 on, were Buffalo, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburgh. The Flyers played in the classic for the second time, losing at Fenway Park in Boston to the Bruins, 2-1 in overtime, in 2010.