Rangers To Play Sabres In 2018 NHL Winter Classic At Citi Field
Rangers to face Sabres in 2018 NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field
The game will be held at the Mets’ home stadium in Flushing, Queens on Jan. 1. Commissioner Garry Bettman revealed the outdoor game would be played on New Year’s Day on television Tuesday night during an intermission of the Rangers’ 4-2 Game 6 playoff loss to the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden, a defeat that eliminated the Rangers from Stanley Cup contention.
“The Winter Classic made its debut under snowy Buffalo skies in 2008, and we look forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of that landmark event by matching the Sabres with their intrastate rivals, the New York Rangers, in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field,” Bettman said in a press release.
The 2018 Winter Classic will count as a home game for the Sabres due to rules dictating the Rangers play all home contests at Madison Square Garden.
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The 2018 edition of the game will mark the second time the Sabres and Rangers have each participated in the NHL’s premier midseason event.
Buffalo hosted the first-ever 2008 Winter Classic, during which the Sabres fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-1 shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Rangers visited the Philadelphia Flyers at the Phillies’ home, Citizens Bank Park, for the 2012 showcase game, and also participated in Stadium Series contests against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium in 2014.
The Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2007 with their 4-2 series and Game 6 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone put Ottawa up 2-0 with goals at 4:27 and 14:44 of the first period, and then led 3-1 in the second thanks to Erik Karlsson, who scored after Mika Zibanejad netted New York’s first goal at 13:32 of the period.
Chris Kreider scored the Rangers’ second goal 53 seconds into the third period to bring the hosts within one, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau secured the Senators’ victory by shooting into an empty net with seven seconds remaining.
Craig Anderson made 37 saves for Ottawa, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 shots for New York, which was 0-for-4 on the power play.
“I think we played well enough to win a lot of games here,” said Lundqvist, who had won ten of the last 11 home games when the Rangers were on the brink of elimination. “We talked about it during the season that sometimes it is not about playing your best game, it is about finding a way to win games. They did that better than we did.”
One of the best goals of the game was Karlsson, who took a backhand feed from Bobby Ryan and shot past Lundqvist from the left circle at 15:53 of the second period.
“It was big for momentum, the stadium erupted when they scored and I knew they would make another push after they scored,” Anderson said. “I think we took the wind right out of their sail with that great play between Bobby and [Karlsson]”
Anderson made a big save when he blocked a shot from Kreider on a 2-on-1 with Zibanejad by sliding across the goal to stop Kreider’s rebound with his pad at 5:08 of the third period to protect a 3-2 Senators lead.
Ottawa forward Viktor Stalberg left 5:59 into the second period with an undisclosed injury.
The Senators’ next opponent and date for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final has yet to be determined. Ottawa beat the Buffalo Sabres in five games when it last played in the conference final in 2007.
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