On New Year’s Day, this past Monday, nearly 42,000 hockey fans braved the bitter cold and wind to witness a once in a lifetime event: the 2018 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic. It pitted Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers against Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field in Queens on a 18 degree F afternoon. Ultimately, the Rangers proved once again that they are number one in outdoor games and won 3-2 in overtime.
New York took a 2-0 lead going into first intermission on goals by Paul Carey and Michael Grabner. Sam Reinhart cut the score in half just fifty-six seconds into the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen tied the game twenty-seven seconds into the third period to push the game to overtime. Midway through the extra period, on a nice pass from Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller netted the game winner and the Rangers came out victorious!
“It was a blast. Everyone grew up playing outdoor hockey and it was such a good time,” defenseman Brady Skjei told NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond.
Henrik Lundqvist, who had 31 saves in the victory, said, “I enjoyed every minute. It was a lot of fun. It was a fun experience to be a part of. I thought we played pretty good and had a great start.”
The New York Rangers are now 4-0-0 in outdoor games, also defeating the Flyers in 2012 at Citizens Bank Park as well as both the Islanders and Devils in 2014 at Yankee Stadium. This was a memorable event for not just Rangers and Sabres fans, but the hockey community in general. It just goes to show that even in freezing cold, hockey unites all.