EA SPORTS conducted a simulation of the annual New Year's showdown with its EA SPORTS NHL series simulation engine this week, and found that while the Rangers will be the first team on the scoreboard, the Flyers ended up on the long side of the ledger, by a 3-1 final score.
According to EA's simulation, Artem Anisimov will be the first player to light the lamp, scoring a power-play goal at 10:35 of the first period from Derek Stepan and Brad Richards.
According to the NHL 12 simulation, the Rangers' Artem Anisimov will be the first player to score during the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. (Courtesy: EA SPORTS)
While the Flyers come out on top on the scoreboard, the Rangers get the best performance of the game -- not surprisingly from Henrik Lundqvist, who comes up with 32 saves in the losing effort.
EA SPORTS' simulation engine takes into account multiple factors such as statistics and data from each player, EA's own player ratings and line combinations, while also factoring in injuries and momentum from hot streaks. In the past EA SPORTS' simulation engine has predicted Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup championship, Vancouver's 2011 Presidents' Trophy and last season's Stanley Cup Final matchup of the Bruins and Canucks.
The 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played by the Rangers and Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, on Jan. 2, 2012 at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live by NBC in the U.S. and CBC in Canada.