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
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…