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Rupp's pair helps Rangers edge Flyers

by Dan Rosen

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.

"I just wanted to get a goal," Rupp said. "I only had one coming into today."

Rupp's only other point this season came Oct. 18 in Vancouver when he scored on Roberto Luongo. He played another three games after that before going on the shelf with a knee injury that would keep him out almost two months.

It wasn't until Monday, when he scored two goals on two shots in just 7:34 of ice time, that he felt like he finally started earning his keep as a Ranger.

"I think one of the things for me as a player that has been my plus is I can do a lot of different things and this year so far I haven't felt I have been tapping into all those areas," Rupp said. "It was important to me to contribute more. Today was a great feeling and hopefully it'll start things moving that way."

Rangers coach John Tortorella would vote for more of the same from Rupp for the rest of the season. He again praised Rupp's professionalism and the respect he gets inside the dressing room, but getting some production out of the 6-foot-5 power forward with has two Stanley Cup rings, including the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, would be big for the Rangers.

"I couldn't be happier for him because it's been very frustrating for him," Tortorella said. "Really, from the get-go he was banged up and he hasn't joined in in understanding our team concept. He brings an intangible to a room with a really young core that is needed, and he has stepped up there. He is such a great teammate, and now that he's a part of this type of game and he gets the (Broadway) hat, the boys rally around it. They're happy for him, so I am, too."

Tortorella is spot on about the rest of the team's feelings toward Rupp. Captain Ryan Callahan went as far as calling him the Rangers "hero" Monday.

Mike Rupp
Center - NYR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 3
SOG: 6 | +/-: 3
"We needed somebody to step up and he did," Callahan said.

Brad Richards talked about the team concept in praising Rupp, saying a guy like that stepping up proves the Rangers have the type of team that can do big things.

"Good teams do that, they find ways to have different people step up," Richards told "We've been lucky with that all year. We've had guys or lines carry us at certain moments and goaltending keep us in games at certain moments, but overall it's been a total team effort."

For Rupp, he just wanted to be finally feel like he was a part of it all.

"Everybody has to contribute," Rupp said. "One of the strongest points of our team is it comes from up and down the lineup, and I didn't want to be one who never did it. So, it feels good."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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