BERN, Switzerland - Ryan Callahan scored with 20 seconds left to give the New York Rangers a 4-3 comeback victory over European champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Wednesday night in the first game between NHL and Russian teams in 17 years.
Down 3-0 late in the second period before rallying to take the US$1-million prize in the inaugural Victoria Cup, the Rangers will open the NHL regular season this weekend in Prague, Czech Republic, with a two-game series against Tampa Bay.
"It certainly has a galvanizing effect on how we go into Prague," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "You have to think this has certainly served as a foundation for some confidence. ... We had our hands full tonight. We were down three-nothing and it did not look good at all."
Chris Drury cut it to 3-1 with a two-man advantage late in the second period and Dan Fritsche made it a one-goal game at 5:45 of the third. Drury tied it with a little under 10 minutes left.
"Any comeback is important for your team," Renney said. "It is an important step early and we like that."
Denis Platonov, drafted by Nashville in 2001, gave the Continental Hockey League team the lead 1:28 into the first period and Vladimir Malenkikh beat Henrik Lundqvist on a power play with 1:53 left in the period to make it 2-0. Metallurg took a 3-0 lead midway through the second on Nikolai Zavarukhin's power-play goal.
The Victoria Cup was created by the International Ice Hockey Federation in its centenary year. Named for the rink where the first organized game was played in 1875 in Montreal, the event will annually pair an NHL team with the current European champion.
The Rangers' two Russian players, defenceman Dmitri Kalinin and forward Nikolai Zherdev, accepted the trophy.
"It was a nice touch by our guys," Renney said. "It recognized two good teammates who care deeply about playing for the Rangers, and our leaders wanted them to know that."