Rangers Stage Classic Finish to Beat Flyers

Danny Briere saw the opening between Henrik Lundqvist’s pads and just knew the Winter Classic was headed for overtime.  He could even visualize the red light going on, while a sea or orange and black among the 47, 967 packed inside Citizen’s Bank Park would be going bananas. 

There was no doubt in his mind as he zeroed in on Lundqvist on the 46 attempted penalty shot—but first outdoors in Flyers’ history.  

And then suddenly that opening closed. Lundqvist kicked his pads out to make the save and moments later the Rangers were celebrating a pivotal 3-2 victory while fireworks went off in the Philadelphia sky. 

“All I was thinking was this game’s going to overtime,’’ admitted Briere, after the Flyers fell for the first time when leading after two periods when the Rangers scored twice early in the third to take the lead. “ I could see it going in.

“Unfortunately he made the save. I tried to surprise him with a quick little shot, but he’s one of the best in shootouts and on breakaways and made the save.’’

That’s how the Fifth Winter Classic ended, with the Flyers, having coughed up a 2-0 second period lead desperately trying to force overtime.  Ironically, that’s what the Boston Bruins did to them two years ago in the Classic at Fenway Park, with Mark Recchi getting the equalizer late, then Marco Sturm winning it in O.T.

From there, of course, the Flyers would go on to make a memorable run to the Stanley Cup Finals, a road which was made possible when Briere and Claude Giroux beat Lundqvist in the regular season finale shootout  
So they’re hoping another Classic loss might be a good omen. “ It’s disappointing, frustrating,’’ said Briere who was awarded the penalty shot—by rule—when Rangers’ defenseman McDonagh was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease with just 19.6 seconds remaining.  “Even thought this is a big game and one we wanted badly, this is not what we’re playing for.

“But it prepares you a little bit for what a playoff game looks like. The whole crowd, with everything center stage, it certainly served us well a couple of years ago.  Hopefully it does the same again.’’

By that point the Flyers better have their goaltending in order if they seriously intend to make a similar post-season run.  Once again that became the overriding story when surprise starter Sergei Bobrovsky, given the nod over high priced but slumping free agent Ilya Bryzgalov, couldn’t  stand the prosperity of two-goal lead.

Bob looked solid while the game remained scoreless over the first 32-plus minutes.  But once rookie Brayden Schenn and Giroux scored 1:55 apart, he wasn’t the same.  Just 30 seconds after Giroux worked a two-on-one with Max Talbot—playing on his line because Jaromir Jagr was unable to go more than a couple of shifts due to a leg injury which swelled up in the cold—Mike Rupp got the Rangers back in the game with a shot on which Bobrovsky was screened by defenseman Andrej Meszaros.

Then early in the third Rupp, who has just 50 goals in 511 games playing indoors, continued his outdoor magic, scoring from a sharp angle as Bobrovsky reacted slowly.  It was the kind of soft goal that has typified his brief career, but also been an area of concern with fellow Russian Bryzgalov.
That was only compounded 2:40 later when Brad Richards banged home Brandon Dubinsky’s rebound past a helpless Bobrovsky to give the surging Rangers a lead they would never relinquish. “I know that when we got that 2-0 lead we didn’t play the way we had the whole game,’’ said Giroux, who isn’t discouraged the first place Rangers have now beaten the Flyers all three times this season.
 It’s frustrating, because we were playing so well “We just have to move on.’’

That will start Thursday when the Flyers leave the sun, wind and even a couple of snow flurries that fell yesterday behind and return to comfort of the Wells Fargo Center in a 2010 Stanley Cup Finals rematch vs. the Chicago Blackhawks.  They’ll be cheered then by a modest 17,000-plus, rather than the near 47,000 who turned out yesterday, though at least the players won’t look like ants on skates to the fans the way they did here, with the rink stationed far out of most people’s clear sightlines. 

And they’ll also be rid of the HBO cameras, which have chronicled their every move for the past month.  “This was a great experience,’’ said Giroux, whom Peter Laviolette passed up on the penalty shot in favor of Briere, whom he called a more natural goal scorer. “but now we can go back to our normal life and just do our job.’’

Hoping that by the time the 2012 Winter Classic is a distant memory that resolve will ultimately pay dividends.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.