Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Frozen Treat

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Frozen Treat

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - Taken alone, the game was a classic, never mind that it was an outdoor Winter Classic complete with a light snow briefly falling in the second period and a raucous crowd of 46,967 at Citizens Bank Park.

"At first, it was a little surreal but then you realized it was a hockey game against a pretty good team," Rangers center Brian Boyle said.

But a series of questionable calls and non-calls late in the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Flyers Monday afternoon left the winners sounding like conspiracy theorists even after they rallied from a two-goal deficit in All-Star defenseman Marc Staal's first game back this season after a concussion.

"I didn't think the game would come down to that situation," said Rangers general manager Glen Sather, who had predicted Sept. 26 his team would come to Philadelphia and win. "You see three or four calls that are enough to blow your mind. ... Look at all of it."

Henrik Lundqvist had to preserve the win by stopping Daniel Briere's penalty shot - the first in five Winter Classics -- with 19.6 seconds left in regulation after defenseman Ryan McDonagh was called for covering the puck in the crease.

Winter Classic veteran Mike Rupp, who played in last year's game for the Penguins, scored twice and Brad Richards notched the winner at 5:21 of the third period, 2:40 after Rupp tied the game.

The Rangers (24-9-4) beat the Flyers (22-11-4) for the third straight time this season and moved four points ahead of them in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers also remained atop the Eastern Conference.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs and wanted to turn this into an overtime game," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It started with a non-call on [Marian Gaborik]. Gabby's walking and he gets pitchforked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us.

"They're good guys [referees Ian Walsh and Dennis LaRue] but in that third period, it was disgusting."

Not quite the last scene the NHL was hoping would be shown on HBO's "24/7. …

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