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NHL Winter Classic

NHL Winter Classic

10 memorable moments from Winter Classic

From Miller's OT goal for Rangers to frigid fun for Eichel, Sabres after practice

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers still are perfect in outdoor games.

The Rangers improved to 4-0-0 all time in outdoor games with a 3-2 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field on Monday.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the 10th Winter Classic:

 

[RELATED: Lundqvist great outdoors again in Winter ClassicSpecial goal for Miller, big win for Rangers in Winter Classic]

 

Miller wins it

Rangers forward J.T. Miller said it was hard to describe the feeling.

"I think I blacked out," he said.

But he'll never forget the goal.

Miller scored a power-play goal off a rebound from the slot 2:43 into overtime to give the Rangers the Winter Classic victory.

Kevin Shattenkirk took the shot from the point. Miller got a piece of it. It hit off Sabres goalie Robin Lehner and dropped to Miller on his backhand, and he shoveled it into the net.

Miller immediately celebrated. The crowd roared. He was joined by his teammates, who poured off the bench and over the boards to join in the mayhem. Following a postgame handshake line, customary at most outdoor games, the Rangers went to center ice and gave a stick salute to the 41,821 frigid fans.

Video: NYR@BUF: Miller scores OT winner at Winter Classic

 

"New York Groove"

Rangers center Boo Nieves wrote about how it was spine-tingling in his final Winter Classic blog entry for NHL.com.

The teams came out of each dugout, the Sabres out of the visitors dugout and the Rangers out of the New York Mets dugout, with Ace Frehley, the former lead guitarist and founding member of the band KISS, wearing a Rangers sweater, performing "New York Groove," a hit off his first solo album from 1978.

The players, led by goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the Rangers side and Robin Lehner on the Sabres side, made it to the step that led up to the stage, or the ice, and stopped as Frehley finished the song.

The crowd was roaring. What a scene.

 

Anthem and flyover

With the players lined up, New York City-based Every Voice Choirs, a group of children all born in 2008, the year of the first NHL Winter Classic, performed a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

As they sang, Challenger the Bald Eagle took flight across Citi Field, and as they finished, four F-15 aircrafts flown by the 334th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, soared over the center-field scoreboard and across the stadium.

Video: NYR@BUF: Every Voice Choirs perform national anthem

 

Grabner's goal

All it did was put the Rangers up 2-0, a lead they couldn't hold, but forward Michael Grabner's goal at 8:20 of the first period was one for the highlight shows.

Miller carried the puck into the Sabres zone, pulled up at the left-wing half-wall, spun to his backhand, and moved it to Kevin Hayes, who sped into the zone, behind Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons.

Hayes carried the puck low, behind the net, spun around, and with his forehand tried to bank it off Lehner and into the net. The puck instead went through the slot to Grabner, who had inside position on defenseman Jake McCabe and banged it in.

Video: NYR@BUF: Grabner buries Hayes' fantastic pass

 

Lehner's old-school mask

Outdoor games are supposed to harken back to the past, to the roots of the game. Lehner played right along with that theme by using a retro, 1970s style "Jason" mask that was once worn by former Sabres goalie Gerry Desjardins for warmups.

Lehner has worn the frightening mask with the eye holes and the straps connecting the front and back in previous practices. He did not dare wear the mask for the game, though. However, he did have a toque on top of his game mask a la Jose Theodore from the 2003 Heritage Classic.

 

Carey scores from shade

Rangers left wing Paul Carey skated through the sunny part of the rink and into the shade to score the first goal of the game at 4:09 of the first period.

The work of Nieves in the corner on Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues was key to creating the scoring chance.

Nieves gained inside position on Rodrigues to ward him off and win the puck. He shoveled to right wing Jesper Fast at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Fast then found Carey, who settled the puck and shot it through Lehner's legs.

Video: NYR@BUF: Carey opens the scoring at Winter Classic

 

Ristolainen's pinpoint accuracy

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had no goals in his first 28. His game-tying goal 27 seconds into the third period was his second in as many games. And it was a heck of a shot.

The Rangers actually turned over the puck twice in their zone, giving Ristolainen an opening from the right point.

He sent a wrist shot through traffic that appeared to have eyes of its own. It missed defenders, eluded Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh's outstretched hand, and went into the right corner of the net, just below the crossbar and an inch or two off the right post.

Video: NYR@BUF: Ristolainen ties it up early in the 3rd

 

Pavelec's chance meeting with legend

Ondrej Pavelec is a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, so it was a thrill for the Rangers backup goalie to be introduced to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Max Weinberg and his son, Jay, who is the drummer for the band Slipknot.

"It's great to meet him, that's for sure," said Pavelec, who has seen the band in concert 13 times. "That's a huge thing for me. I love their music."

Pavelec was introduced to the Weinbergs in the Rangers dressing room following the game. Jay is a goalie, so he said they talked a lot about playing the position, hockey in general and some music. They chatted for at least 20 minutes.

Pavelec said his next goal is to meet Springsteen.

"I'm going to be trying," he said. "I'll see a few more shows, so I'm going to keep trying."

 

Save, Lundqvist

The game basically was on Girgensons' stick. Lundqvist denied him the moment of glory.

Lundqvist's left-pad save on Girgensons' uncontested wrist shot from between the hash marks might have been the biggest of his 31 saves because it came with 2:15 remaining in the third period and with the game tied 2-2.

Girgensons got the pass from Sabres center Jack Eichel, who just missed on a chance to win the game in overtime. It was a perfect tape-to-tape saucer pass that set up Girgensons for a Grade A chance.

Lundqvist shot it down.

 

Shootout at end of Buffalo's practice

Eichel said his hands were so cold at the end of practice Sunday that he could barely feel them. It didn't stop him and several other players from staying on the ice to mess around and even do an impromptu shootout against goalie Chad Johnson long after coach Phil Housley left.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart said it's typical of some players to stay on the ice after practice to work on things or just have some fun, but Eichel added that rarely is there a goalie out there with them, so that's why they did the shootout.

"Getting out there and being cold, you finally get warm, start to feel good, and you feel like a kid again," Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly said. "You're just excited to be outdoors and messing around with all the people around just watching and taking it all in too. Definitely, there was a different feel and a little life that you get, a different part of it that excites us all."

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