Rangers take Winter Classic in comeback fashion

Brad Richards celebrates the game-winner against the Flyers.

In the end, the NHL’s premier in-season event could have been hosted in a back alley instead of a ballpark.
 
The 46,967 crammed into Citizens Bank Ballpark to watch the 266th meeting between the Rangers and Flyers witnessed mean-spirited, compelling hockey. And it was fitting that the first star of Monday afternoon’s Winter Classic was a grinder.
 
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” John Tortorella said of Mike Rupp after the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Flyers while wearing the Broadway Hat. Rupp scored twice for the Rangers and Brad Richards potted the game-winner. It was the Rangers’ third win in three games against Philadelphia this season. The Rangers lead the Flyers by four points in the Atlantic, and their 52 points are tied with Chicago for most in the league.
 
“It’s been very frustrating for him because he really hasn’t [had time to] join in and understand our team concept. But I tell you what he brings, there is a respect that he brings to that room. He’s a great pro. He brings an intangible.”
 
Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in making 34 saves, including a spectacular first period against a buzzing Flyers squad. He stopped all 12 Philadelphia shots in the first, including semi-breakaways by Clause Giroux and former Ranger Jaromir Jagr.
 
“You want to find a good balance. I’m always very focused going into the game and during the game but at the same time, you want to be able to enjoy this. I caught myself a couple of times being too relaxed and then a couple of times I just had to calm down,” Lundqvist said. “You want to find  that  perfect balance where you enjoy it but at the same time you get the job done. I felt like most of the time, I did that.”
 
However his teammates did not equal Lundqvist’s brilliance. At least, not early. The Rangers were unable to sustain puck-possession time in the Philadelphia end nor did they display creativity or intelligence for the majority of the first two periods.
 
It cost them when Brayden Schenn’s first NHL goal opened the scoring at 12:26 of the second period. The Flyers had outshot the Rangers 21-13 before Schenn’s goal. Nearly two minutes later, Claude Giroux increased the Flyers lead to 2-0 with a top-shelf backhander to conclude a 2-on-1 rush.
 
Rupp scored 30 seconds after Giroux’s goal with a shot under Bobrovsky’s glove to cut the deficit to 2-1. Signed away from Pittsburgh to a three-year, $4.5 million free agent contract on July 1, Rupp has brought a veteran presence to a relatively young Rangers squad.
 
The fourth line forward evened the game at 2-2 with his second goal of the game and third of the season at 2:41 of the third. Rupp and linemate Brandon Prust weaved through the Philadelphia zone before Rupp shoveled a low shot past Bobrovsky.
 
“Games like this it kind of gives guys like me more of an opportunity to get something ugly. My whole thinking is if I get a chance to shoot, I’m going to shoot,” Rupp said. “I threw it in and I think it banked off of him; it didn’t go straight in. You have to take those ugly ones.”
 
Richards tapped a Brandon Dubinsky rebound into a half-empty cage at 5:21 of the third to give the Rangers their first lead of the game, 3-2. The goal concluded a forechecking and cycling shift that included Ryan Callahan controlling the puck behind the Flyers goal.
 
“I thought when we put Dubi [with Callahan and Richards] it really helped,” Tortorella said. “I don’t  think Richie’s line was playing well with Hags, him and Cally, and I thought Dubi was really good offensively. He struggled defensively on the boards  in the second period, but offensively, he was finishing his checks. He held on to the pucks.”
 
The final minute was theatre of the absurd. Ryan Callahan was called for diving after being clotheslined by Kimmo Timonen, Lundqvist stoned Danny Briere on a penalty shot after Ryan McDonagh was called for closing his hand on the puck while in the crease and the game ended a five-on-five skirmish behind Lundqvist’s goal.
 
“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy,” Callahan said. “It’s how it is against the Flyers. Games are going to be close; we bunkered down there at the end of the period and defended well. Hank came up with the huge stop to save the game for us.”

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…