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Rangers Rally to Beat the Flyers 3-2 in NHL Winter Classic

By Jim Scott | January 2, 2012 4:51pm | Updated on January 2, 2012 6:27pm

MANHATTAN — The New York Rangers took full advantage of their moment in the NHL spotlight by rallying to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the NHL's annual Winter Classic on Monday.

The Rangers trailed the Flyers 2-1 after two periods before forward Mike Rupp scored his second goal of the game early in the third period to even up the Winter Classic. Teammate Brad Richards scored the go ahead goak, his 14th goal of the season, at the 5:21 mark of the third to give the Rangers their first lead of the game at 3-2.

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist took it from there.

Lundqvist stopped a penalty shot by Flyers forward Daniel Briere with 19 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the win for the first place Rangers. The penalty shot was called after defensemen Ryan McDonagh closed his hand on the puck in the crease after it had gotten behind Lundqvist.

Lundqvist stopped 34 of the Flyers 36 shots. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Philadelphia.

Flyers forward Brayden Schenn beat Lundqvist for the game's first goal at the 12:21 mark of the second period. It marked the 20-year-old Schenn's first NHL goal. Teammate Claude Giroux made it 2-0 Flyers with his 18th goal of the season less than two minutes later.

The Rangers cut the lead in half with a goal from Rupp at the 14:51 mark of the second period.

The lead up to the NHL Winter Classic was filled with hype and anticipation for both teams. HBO cameras followed every move of the Rangers and Flyers players in the build up to the NHL's annual outdoor showcase.

“Let’s play,” Rangers coach John Tortorella told the Associated Press leading up to the contest. “It’s time to play the game.”

Singer Patty Labelle sang the national anthem in front of a sold out crowd at Citizen's Bank Park at about 3 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, but it was pushed back to 3 p.m. because of inclement weather.

Monday marked the first time the Rangers took part in the annual event that began back in 2008 when the Buffalo Sabres played the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Philadelphia is making its second appearance in the Winter Classic. The Flyers lost to the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime at Fenway Park in Boston back in 2012.

Rangers stand out defenseman Marc Staal was back on the ice for the first time this season as the puck dropped Monday. The All-Star defensemen missed the first 36 games of the season while recovering from complications from a concussion he suffered last February.

Rangers defenseman Jeff Woywitka was a healthy scratch to make room for Staal.