Monday, January 2, 2012

Rangers Rally To Take Winter Classic 3-2

The New York Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the 2012 Winter Classic.  Henrik Lundqvist was again the key for the Rangers as he stopped 33 shots during regular play and a Daniel Briere penalty shot with 19.6 seconds left to preserve the win.  The penalty shot was called when Ryan McDonagh dove into the crease to prevent a loose puck from going in, but was called for covering the puck in the crease.  Replays showed that McDonagh definitely had his near the puck, but there was no clear evidence that he covered it with his hand as opposed to sliding it under the down Lundqvist.

Lundqvist main help on the day came from 2011 free agent signings Mike Rupp and Brad Richards.  Rupp scored two goals to give the Rangers both life and then tie the game before Richards scored the eventual game-winner.  Rupp’s first goal came late in the second period when he beat Sergei Bobrovsky from the slot.  Rupp followed the goal with some serious gamesmanship by imitating Jaromir Jagr’s goal salute (video). 

Early in the third Rupp beat Bobrovsky again, this time shortside from a weak angle.  The Rangers kept the pressure up and following the work of Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky, Richards gave the Rangers the lead at 5:21.  Richards was alone at the side of the net when Claude Giroux assumed Callahan was going to cycle the puck behind the net, but instead Callahan went to Dubinsky in front for the initial shot.

The two Philadelphia goals came just 1:55 apart in the second period.  The first was Brayden Schenn’s first NHL goal when he was wide-open to convert on a rebound after Henrik Lundqvist appeared to never see the initial shot from Matt Carle. 

The second goal was Claude Giroux breaking in on a 2-on-1 with Talbot and going backhand top shelf right under the bar.  The Giroux goal was on a similar play to one that Lundqvist stopped early in the first by poke-checking the Flyers’ best player.  Giroux appeared to learn from that experience by making his move earlier and roofing the shot from further out.
  • Marc Staal was a mixed bag in his 12:41 of ice time.  Staal was beaten a few times in the second period where the rust was most evident, but he was good during a late third period penalty kill while Ryan McDonagh was in the box.
  • Rupp showed today that he loves the big stage and has plenty to bring the Rangers even in a limited role.  Many Rangers fans have written him off after his slow start, but today will likely buy him a lot of credit.
  • Callahan and Dubinsky were hitting anything and everything today with 21 combined hits