Flyers Fall 3-2 to Rangers in Dramatic Winter Classic
Flyers center Daniel Briere takes a penalty shot on Henrik Lundqvist with 19.6 seconds left in the Winter Classic. Lundqvist made the save to preserve a 3-2 Rangers win.
CITIZENS BANK PARK, PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Flyers had their chances in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, with the most dramatic coming with 19.6 seconds remaining. After a flurry of activity in front of the net, Daniel Briere jammed the puck under the right pad of Henrik Lundqvist, who had backstopped New York brilliantly to that point.
The puck slid slowly toward the goal line as Ryan McDonagh came crashing into the net. The Rangers defenseman deftly slid the puck away from the goal line, saving the goal. The referees, however, awarded the Flyers a penalty shot after a long discussion. Head coach Peter Laviolette chose Briere.
With the game and potentially a share of first place in the Atlantic Division on the line, Briere picked the puck up at center ice and 46,967 fans watched on edge. Unfortunately for the Flyers, it was the sizable minority of Rangers fans who erupted when Lundqvist made the game-saving stop off the inside edge of his left pad.
“Coming in, you try to read on where he’s at and he came far out, so I saw a little something five-hole and tried to go there,” said Briere after the game. ”It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing, but I can’t change anything about it now. I got a good shot off, he made a good save. I wish I would have another crack, but that’s the way it is.”
Of course, the Flyers also had the chance to hold on to their lead after seizing control of the game in the second period. After months of buildup were followed by a scoreless first period, tension built and fans waited for their chance to let loose. The Flyers obliged with a pair of second period goals just 1:55 apart, as Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux launched a celebration with a pair of goals that gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
It was short lived.
After Schenn jammed home a Matt Carle rebound and Giroux put a back hander under the crossbar off a feed from Maxime Talbot on an odd-man rush, it took just 30 seconds before Mike Rupp answered with a wrist shot from the top of the slot. That closed the scoring for the second period, but it gave the Rangers life heading into the third.
“It was a key moment of the game, ’cause they have all of the momentum on their side,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “Again, the game is a series of momentums. How quickly you can get it back your way, versus losing it.”
Philadelphia took it’s 2-1 lead into the third period, but the Rangers came out firing. Rupp struck again with a wrister on the short side that snuck between Bobrovsky and the post just 2:41 into the period. At the 5:21 mark, Brad Richards buried a rebound after Bobrovsky stopped a Brandon Dubinsky shot from close range, but turned the rebound toward the right side of the goal.
The Flyers were hemmed into their end of the ice for a couple of long stretches in the third period, but managed to mount a late effort that ran out of steam when Briere couldn’t beat Lundqvist on the penalty shot and the Flyers final frantic efforts came up short.
“I feel like tonight we played pretty good and we had a lot of chances and it’s such a long season,” said star center Claude Giroux. “There’s a lot of character in this room and guys hate to lose and we’ve just got to go from there.”
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