Clarke's Flyers emerged victorious against Messier's Rangers, 3-1, in the Molson Canadian 2012 Winter Classic Alumni Game.
Saturday's game, which started under a brilliant sun in warm temperatures and finished under a clear and crisp night sky with the ice surface bathed in the stadium's artificial lights, proved to be a perfect -- and unforgettable -- dress rehearsal for Monday's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic here between the current editions of these two bitter rivals.
Before the fun even started, the fans cheered wildly for Flyers greats Rick Tocchet, John LeClair and Eric Lindros during introductions. In fact, Bernie Parent and Eric Lindros received the heartiest of the cheers. Rangers such as Brian Leetch received a far cooler greeting, which is only to be expected in Philadelphia.
Parent got the start for the Flyers and didn’t wait long to bring the crowd to its feet.
The Rangers' Ron Duguay, his classic mullet flowing in the Philadelphia breeze, broke through the Flyers defense on a breakaway. Parent stood tall, literally, squeezing the pads together to make a throwback save on Duguay.
The 66-year-old Parent called it a day after four minutes. He faced six shots and stopped them all.
On the other end of the ice, Rangers goaltender John Vanbriesbrouck was up to the task in the early going. He made a tough stop in tight against Brad Marsh, but eventually the flood gates opened as Philadelphia struck for a pair of goals in under three minutes.
A hit by Mark Recchi on Darius Kasparaitis started a breakout by Eric Lindros, who flew down the right wing on a 2-on-1 with Legion of Doom linemate John LeClair on his left. Lindros slipped the puck to LeClair, who beat Vanbriesbrouck to make it 1-0 at 9:25.
Mark LaForest, who took over for Parent, made some spectacular saves of his own. A hard shot by Darren Turcotte was gloved by LaForest and casually put back into play.
The Flyers struck again in the first period, this time with a goal by Shjon Podein. He followed up a drive to the net by Rick Tocchet to make it 2-0 at 9:25.
LaForest and Parent combined to stop all 17 shots they faced in the first period.
Dan Blackburn, who is just 28 years old but last played in the NHL in 2003 because of nerve damage in his shoulder, took over for Vanbiesbrouck in the second period and kept the Rangers in the game. He stopped Jeremy Roenick on a 2-on-1 and about a minute later, shut down Mark Recchi, who won the Stanley Cup last year with the Bruins, on a 2-on-0.
LaForest continued his sharp play in the second period, stopping a Nick Kypreos penalty shot in game when all minor penalties resulted in a penalty shot instead of a power play.
The Rangers finally broke through at 12:18 of the second period when Glen Anderson redirected a cross-ice pass from Kasparaitis. Leetch aided in the goal, as he skated through the crease to obstruct LaForest's vision.
The second penalty shot of the period was awarded to Podein after he was hooked to the ice by Nick Fotiu. But Blackburn came up with a blocker save as Podein deked to the backhand but couldn't lift the puck high enough.
Blackburn stopped all eight shots he faced in the second period. In the third, he allowed a penalty-shot goal to Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe.
Author: Dave Lozo | NHL.com Staff Writer