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Rangers snag victory in Winter Classic

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 09:34 AM
PHILADELPHIA -

Alone in the cold, it was up to Henrik Lundqvist to preserve a Classic comeback.

His signature moment came with 19.6 seconds left after New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh was whistled for covering the puck in the crease. Flyers center Danny Briere streaked down the ice — a replica of the Liberty Bell and bundled-up fans behind his back — trying to send this one into overtime.

Lundqvist dropped to his knees on top of a chilly baseball field and stoned Briere with his pads when the center tried to sneak it through his legs.

This made-for-TV showcase had found its brightest star.

Lundqvist stopped 34 shots, Brad Richards scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the New York Rangers rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the Winter Classic on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

"I was just trying to be patient and do my thing," Lundqvist said. "He's a sneaky guy, and there was a lot of pressure on me."

More pressure than any other regular-season games in January. While this game meant two points in the standings, like the four other NHL games set for Monday night, it received the kind of hype normally reserved for the Stanley Cup finals. NBC televised the game and HBO had 12 camera crews filming the game and behind-the-scenes action for its "24/7" series.

Rangers coach John Tortorella wondered if the officials wanted their own time in the spotlight to build the drama.

"They called a penalty shot which I still don't understand," he said. "I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game. I thought the game was reffed horrible.

"I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

Mike Rupp scored twice as New York won for the third time this season against Philadelphia.

Playing on a rink that stretched from first base to third base, the Rangers made the league's fifth Classic event a memorable one to stay atop the Eastern Conference standings.

The NHL surrounded the rink with Christmas trees, firewood, fake snow, and even trash-can fires. But there was nothing artificial in the elements with snow flurries late in the second period and temperatures that dipped into the 30s, forcing 46,967 fans to layer in jerseys for the big event.

The Flyers ended the game without Jaromir Jagr, their star forward who played only a minute in the second period before leaving the game for good. The 39-year-old Jagr, a former Ranger, said after the game he injured his left leg and expected to return soon.

Rupp's first goal late in the second came with a salute toward the Flyers' bench — the same move Jagr makes for the home crowd after one of his goals.

 

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