Throughout the lockout, many blogs are doing fake recaps of the games that should’ve been taking place. I’ve decided to go another route by doing real recaps…of the games that happened on that date one year ago.
Coming off a huge win in Washington, a game less than 24 hours later at home versus the Flyers was probably the last thing the Rangers needed. It didn’t help that there was a lot of hype for this game as HBO was taping some early footage for 24/7 and this aired the night before:
Yes Shelley, Brandon Dubinsky is a weasel. A weasel who was your teammate not too long ago. A year later, I still can’t believe he made that comment.
As for the game, both teams had played the day before and needed to travel so it would’ve been completely acceptable if they both came out flat. Instead, this happened:
Could the HBO cameras have had something to do with that? Probably not. It is Rangers-Flyers after all. Only thing that would’ve made a fight in the first five seconds more likely was if it was Rangers-Devils
Things didn’t really calm down as nine minutes later Brandon Prust was at it again, this time with Wayne Simmonds as both got coincidental unsportsmanlike penalties. Two minutes later, they stepped out of the box and this happened:
Not going to lie, my worry after that fight was that the Flyers were going to goad him into a third one before the end of the first period and he would be done for the game. (Three fights = game misconduct.) Fortunately Prust was aware of the rule and stayed out of the box for the remainder of the game. I did enjoy the fact he beat up two Flyers though.
That was it for the fighting but as the official recap said:
On HBO’s preview of “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” that aired Friday night, both teams spoke openly about their dislike for each other. They backed up those words in a big way on Saturday afternoon in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 18,200.
Callahan and Flyers leading scorer and early-season Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux both tumbled to the ice after a hard collision in the neutral zone. When Rinaldo and Simmonds weren’t scrapping with Prust, they were jawing with the Rangers’ Sean Avery. The Flyers’ Danny Briere cross-checked the Rangers’ Michael Del Zotto in the mouth during a battle along the wall during the second period.
There was plenty of chippiness and chirping to be had after most whistles, too. Neither team said it had to do with the upcoming Winter Classic — it was just another unpleasant meeting between two teams that share a mild hatred for each other.
Sure there might have been a little extra knowing the cameras were there but to be honest, especially after watching the rest of the season, I think this game was just the epitome of Rangers-Flyers hockey. Fortunately they got to the important stuff in the second period – goals.
It started 54 seconds in with the Rangers still on the power play from a penalty taken at the end of the first as Ryan Callahan couldn’t have provided a better screen if he tried:
You’ll notice they mentioned “no argument from Callahan” and “this one will count”. That is because on the play before, the Rangers had scored but Callahan had swept the puck into the net with his hand. I was pissed at the time that it didn’t count but I remember the replay showing he obviously never touched the puck with his stick. (Sorry, can’t find video to prove it.)
Things calmed down for the remainder of the second period as there were only a couple of minor penalties (one for each side) and no goals. Then five minutes into the third period, we had a history-making goal as Carl Hagelin scored his first NHL goal on this beauty:
You have to love the no quit in his second NHL game. He wanted that goal badly.
It ended up being an insurance goal as Richards’ was the game winner and the Rangers took game one of six on the season against the Flyers by a score of 2-0. Little did we know the Rangers smiling at the end of these games would become common-place as the season wore on.