JT Miller backhands the 2018 NHL Winter Classic game winner on Monday against the Sabres. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Rangers improved to 4-0-0 all-time in outdoor games after a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres on New Year's Day in the 2018 NHL Winter Classic. 


JT Miller provided the heroics, scoring the game-winning goal with 2:17 remaining in the extra period, salvaging a game in which the Rangers squandered a two-goal lead:



It was a much-needed two points for the Blueshirts, who had lost three of their previous four games heading into the Classic. 


Despite the little hiccup, the Rangers have done well to overcome a tumultuous start to the 2017-18 season in which they won just two of their opening 10 games. After that 2-6-2 start, the Rangers are 19-7-3 with 47 points, good for the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan Division and a spot in the playoffs if the season were to end today. 


While there is still more than half the season remaining, the Rangers have shown in the past that they can build further off winning an outdoor game. 

A win at the 2012 NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia against the Flyers was the second triumph of a five-game winning streak. They would go on to put up a 13-4-1 record in their next 18 games on their way to a 109-point season, the best mark in the Eastern Conference: 

New York would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the New Jersey Devils. 

Two years later, the Rangers were featured in a pair of outdoor games during the NHL's 2014 Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium. The Blueshirts would face both New York metropolitan-area teams, disposing of the New Jersey Devils 7-3 before taking down the New York Islanders 2-1 three nights later:

After dropping their previous two games before the Stadium Series, the Rangers would go on to win six of their next seven games, a vital stretch of a 96-point campaign that saw them get into the playoffs as the No. 2 team out of the Metropolitan Division. New York beat the Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens to win the Eastern Conference and make their first Stanely Cup Final appearance since 1994, though they would lose in five games to the Los Angeles Kings. 

Considering their difficult start this season, a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals would likely make plenty of Rangers fans happy. If past seasons containing outdoor games are indicative of how things will play out in 2017-18, then the Rangers have an entertaining winter and spring ahead of them.