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2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Rangers v. Flyers

Outdoor game produces largest-ever AHL crowd


The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers aren't the only ones who can pack Citizens Bank Park.

Five days after the Flyers and Rangers battled in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic before a crowd of 46,967, the American Hockey League had the biggest crowd in its 76-year history when 45,653 fans turned out Friday night to see the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL farm team, battle the Hershey Bears, Washington's top affiliate. Adirondack won 4-3 on Shane Harper's goal 58 seconds into OT after the Phantoms' Ben Holmstrom forced the extra period by scoring with 21 seconds left in regulation.

Final episode of '24/7' is perfect Winter Classic finale

Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

The HBO "24/7" producers charged with filming professional hockey and the NHL Winter Classic during the past two seasons have emphasized that each episode is an opportunity to introduce new characters while adding to the storylines of recurring characters.

The final episode of HBO's "24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" that aired Thursday is no exception.

One of the new characters: New York Rangers video coach Jerry Dineen, who has 18 years with the Rangers and four brothers working in the sport, including Florida head coach Kevin. Jerry Dineen is running the video for a 10 a.m. game-day film session in a Florida hotel conference room for a Rangers team that lost its previous game against the Washington Capitals and now faces coach John Tortorella's wrath about each goal against. Tortorella starts by reminding Brian Boyle about not trying to force a play that in this case resulted in a turnover and a goal. Next on the hot seat is defenseman Anton Stralman, a fifth-year player who hears compliments about stepping up his role with his new team -- then gets a flat-out challenge from Tortorella to do more.

Bettman: Philadelphia was 'spectacular'

Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

PHILADELPHIA – NHL Commissioner started off his post-game 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic press conference by surmising that "a rivalry outdoors is as good as one indoors" and "it's not every day that an event can actually equal or exceed the hype and buzz."

Both were effective points about what was arguably the most competitive of the five Winter Classic games. Here is an edited transcript of Bettman's question-and-answer session with the media.

Q. Your thoughts on Philadelphia and how they hosted.

It was spectacular. We could not have asked for any more from the event. And I think the Alumni Game was a great appetizer to the main event today -- having 45,000 people in here on Saturday -- and just the entire reception in the city, the buzz throughout the city, and the crowd today was great.        

This was just a terrific event for us, and we are grateful to everybody who was involved, particularly and including the City of Philadelphia.

Lundqvist outstanding play keys Rangers' victory

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Henrik Lundqvist helped keep the New York Rangers close while the Philadelphia Flyers controlled play for most of the first two periods Monday.

Eventually the Rangers rallied to claim a one-goal lead in the Bridgestone 2012 NHL Winter Classic, and then they needed to rely on their goaltender once again.

Lundqvist helped thwart a late comeback attempt by the Flyers, including a signature moment in this Classic when he turned aside a penalty shot from Danny Briere with 19.6 seconds left in the third period of a 3-2 victory.

It was the first penalty shot attempt in the five-year history of the Winter Classic.

Teams feel privileged to experience "perfect" Classic

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Weather-wise, it was about as perfect as can be for an outdoor hockey game.

The temperature at puck drop for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers was 41 degrees with a minimal amount of wind swirling around Citizens Bank Park. Fans cheered the Flyers and jeered the Rangers as they took the ice and roared throughout the exciting contest that ended with a 3-2 Rangers victory.

The atmosphere became something out of a fairytale during the second period when snow flurries began to fall. It wasn't just the fans who were rejoicing about the ballpark turning into a snow globe.

"It was neat to see a little bit of snow there in the second," said the Rangers' Brad Richards, who scored the winner in the third period. "It obviously has a different feel. It doesn’t have the same feel as what we’re used to, but it was a great feeling with the wind and the breeze and when it got dark. It was a great setting and a great memory."

Rupp's pair helps Rangers edge Flyers

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Rupp jumped over the boards after Claude Giroux's goal put the Flyers up by two goals in the second period thinking he had to do something to make a difference, anything to help the Rangers change the momentum at Citizens Bank Park.

Rupp wound up scoring a goal 30 seconds into the shift. Later in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, he scored another, erasing the Flyers lead all on his own.

When it was done and the Rangers finished off their 3-2 victory in front of 46,967 at Citizens Bank Park, Rupp was wearing the Rangers' Broadway Hat as the team-voted player of the game.

All it took was for him to triple his production for the season in one game.

Bobrovsky: 'Too bad I made a mistake'

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Stoked by Ilya Bryzgalov's startling reveal before the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic about being the backup goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, there was much anticipation as to how the younger Sergei Bobrovsky would perform under the lights at Citizens Bank Park.
Ultimately, Bobrovsky played well; just not well enough to win.

He conceded three goals on 33 shots to lose for the first time since Nov. 26. The Russian had gone 3-0-0 with only four goals allowed in three starts -- and performed well in relief of Bryzgalov on two other occasions during that time.
Early in the third period, Mike Rupp's wrister from the left circle beat Bobrovsky when it slipped under his right arm. It was a save Bobrovsky clearly thought he should have made.
"He shot at the angle and hit me under my arm," said Bobrovsky through an interpreter. "In general, (I thought I played) not bad. Too bad I made a mistake."

Richards: Winner more than another clutch moment

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Richards has six game-winning goals in his first season with the New York Rangers, and scoring with one-tenth of a second left in the third period -- like he did Dec. 17 against Phoenix -- would be the most memorable one most years.

Not in a Winter Classic year, though.

Richards won't get to play in front of nearly 47,000 people in a rink built on top of a baseball field most years, either. He was able to help the Rangers rally from a two-goal deficit Monday and defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the Bridgestone 2012 NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.

"It is a lot better when you win it," Richards said. "We would have forgot about it pretty quick and hated it, but now we can enjoy it for a day or two and think back on it. It came and went pretty quick, but it was an amazing experience."

Mike Rupp started the rally with pair of goals, and Richards completed it at 5:21 of the third period. The play started with Ryan Callahan sending a pass from behind the net to Brandon Dubinsky in front. 

Staal makes season debut in Winter Classic victory

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Marc Staal never ruled out playing in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but there certainly was a time when he wouldn't even dare dream about it.

The dream, though, became a reality Monday.

After nearly eight months, Staal returned to the Rangers lineup for the his team's 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park. It was a debut that nobody expected to happen.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the Rangers had all but ruled out their No. 1 defenseman again, but Staal told coach John Tortorella at their team dinner Sunday night that he was ready to go.

"To be back in the lineup and part of the team and around the guys, it's a relief," Staal said.

Rangers, Flyers praise Classic playing conditions

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The ice conditions became an afterthought following Monday's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. That's exactly how Dan Craig, the NHL's Senior Director of Facilities Operations, wanted it to be.
"It means that I'm doing the job I am supposed to do," Craig told NHL.com. "That's what I get paid to do."
The Rangers and Flyers got paid to play on that ice at Citizens Bank Park, and they thought the conditions were as ideal as possible for a game being played outside on a temporary rink built on a baseball field.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan praised Craig and his crew for their work by saying the ice was better than he expected it to be. Brad Richards, who scored the winning goal, echoed those statements, telling NHL.com that the ice conditions Monday were "night and day" from the conditions for the Rangers practice 24 hours earlier.
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