Mats Zuccarello scored two goals, even as the snow came down in the second period, at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Getty Images
Weather is the inherent risk in playing hockey outdoors.
On Sunday, changes in the conditions did affect the game as the start of Sunday's Rangers-Devils Stadium Series match was delayed an hour due to sunlight reflecting off of the ice.
As the game progressed, the sun was replaced by snow and cold. At the opening faceoff, the announced temperature was a balmy 24.9 degrees.
"Everything was great," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "You're not going to get perfect conditions when you stick a rink in the middle of a baseball stadium in February or late January, but I thought the entire event, from the ice to the production to the environment to the crowd, was outstanding."
The Rangers came into Sunday's Stadium Series game one of the NHL's weaker squads in terms of even strength scoring and one of the league's premier power-play teams.
So, naturally, the Rangers scored all seven of their goals against the Devils at even strength.
"In the second [period], our transition, I thought we were able to — for some reason they stayed up on the occasions — chip pucks by them and we got some outnumbered situations," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Some nights you just find a way to go in. It seemed to be one of those nights. It was a couple off them, a couple off our skates, and one was a really good play where [Derick] Brassard [set up] [Mats] Zuccarello [by being] patient and [was] able to meet him. And it was one of those games where we were able to capitalize on a couple of those."
Bettman praises Stadium Series
Yesterday's game was the second Stadium Series game the NHL hosted in less than 24 hours. The Ducks beat the Kings, 3-0, Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
The success of the first two games clearly pleased NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The league has two more Stadium Series games scheduled: Wednesday night when the Rangers and Islanders renew their storied rivalry at Yankee Stadium, and on March 1, when the Penguins and Blackhawks will play what could be a Stanley Cup Final at Chicago's Soldier Field.
“The first two games of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series — played on two coasts, under two wild extremes of climate — provided all the best elements our sport can offer our fans," Bettman said. “Within 16 hours, two of the most-revered venues in sports welcomed more than 100,000 fans to sit under the sky and enjoy two of the fiercest rivalries in the National Hockey League. The games were spectacular, the images were unforgettable and the sheer energy our sport creates was unmistakable. This truly was a remarkable weekend for our fans and our League.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter@DenisGorman.