Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Flyers 2
January, 2, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: Gritty forward Mike Rupp single-handedly whittled a 2-0 deficit and elite center Brad Richards tallied the game-winner as the Rangers prevailed 3-2 in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park Monday. The Rangers' come-from-behind win, executed in epic fashion during the vaunted festivities, gave the Blueshirts a four-point edge over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings and a 3-0 season series lead.
Been there before: Winter Classic veteran Rupp, who played in the annual outdoor game last year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, gave the Rangers a huge two-goal boost with his finest game of the season. The 31-year-old forward cut the Flyers’ two-goal lead in half with a sharp wrister that beat Sergei Bobrovsky at 14:51 of the second and tied the game with a shortside shot early in the third. Rupp displayed his showmanship as well, playing to the sellout crowd after his first marker with with a mimic of Jaromir Jagr’s salute to the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
Staal returns: Rangers defenseman Marc Staal made his season debut after missing the first 36 games with post-concussion symptoms. The 24-year-old played primarily on the team's third defensive pairing with Stu Bickel during his first game in almost nine months.
First time: Brayden Schenn picked a grand stage to tally his first NHL goal. The 20-year-old Flyers center banged in a rebound to give his team a 1-0 lead at 12:26 of the second period and ignite a crowd of 46,967 at Citizens Bank Park.
Double up: Less than two minutes after Schenn got the Flyers on the board, Claude Giroux gave Philly a 2-0 lead. The star finished a backhander to pull even with Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin for the league lead in scoring. Both Sedin and Giroux, who recorded his 18th goal of the season, have 46 points.
Jagr hurt?: Jagr left the game in the first period and returned in the second to play only two shifts. The Flyers did not divulge what was bothering the Czech star, who remained on the bench in the third but didn't play.
Late scratch: With Staal’s last-minute addition, defenseman Jeff Woywitka was bumped from the lineup. Erik Christensen was also scratched for the seventh straight game. For the Flyers, defenseman Matt Walker and tough guys Zac Rinaldo and Jody Shelley were scratched.
Avery watch: Sean Avery, waived by the Rangers for the second time this season Friday, finished with four shots, two penalty minutes and a minus-one rating in the (AHL) Connecticut Whale's 5-4 OT loss to Portland Monday.
Ideal conditions: The ice may have not been ideal, but the weather for Monday's game could not have been better. Fans bundled up for the clear, cold conditions were rewarded with some flurries of snow during the second period.
Up next: Rangers at Panthers, Thursday at 7 p.m.