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To go from goat to hero only takes two goals.
Tim Thomas found that out in the Boston Bruins' 2-1 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., on Friday.
"It certainly feels good," said Bruins coach Claude Julien when asked if winning in overtime was hockey's version of hitting a walk-off home run. "I think the way the game finished was obviously encouraging for a team. For a while there, I didn't know if they were ever going to find out how these fans were going to react if we scored a goal."
The Bruins and Flyers were both held scoreless heading into the second period before the Flyers started making noise in the Bruins' end. With the puck close to the blueline, Flyer Scott Hartnell skated toward the net and made contact with Thomas, sending him to the ground. Thomas got back up and gave Hartnell a hearty shove, but at the same time allowed a Dan Syvret goal slip past him.
With less than three minutes left in the third, and the Bruins still down 1-0, Thomas was obviously the Bruins goat if the game were to end then. But Mark Rechhi changed Thomas' fortune.
Rechhi's goal at 17:42 tied the game up and fired up the Fenway faithful. Once Rechhi's shot hit the back of the net, the Bruins were in control.
The game was sent to overtime, but it didn't stay tied for long. Action in front of the net allowed Marco Sturm to find the twine and send the Bruins fans home with a 2-1 victory. Sturm's goal came just 1:57 into the extra period.
"When (Patrice Bergeron) hit the puck I saw like two guys go at him a little bit and that's why I just tried to go to the net," Sturm said of his game-winner. "He made a nice play for a tip-in."
In less than two minutes, Bergeron and Sturm helped turn Thomas, who saved 24 shots, from goat to a key part of the Bruins' victory.
"You could feel the energy when we tied it up with two minutes left," Thomas said. "At that point I was very grateful to tie the game, because I mean, the goal was basically because I lost my cool and wasn't following the puck."
With the Green Monster as the Winter Classic's backdrop, Julien said there was certainly something great about Friday's win.
"There was no doubt," he said, "there was something special about this park that kept you in awe."
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas found out Friday morning he had made Team USA. If he hadn’t, it fans may have seen a tear-jerker live.
“I found out this morning, but obviously I had to keep it quiet, which is good, because I was able to control my emotions,” said Thomas, 35. “I think I would have been a blubbering mess on national television if I would have found out right before.”
Thomas joins netminders Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick on the Team USA squad. The Olympics begin Feb. 26 in Vancouver, B.C.
“This will go down as one of the most memorable days of my life and my career. Between winning and the way that we won (the Winter Classic), and being named to the U.S. Olympic team … I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity.”
Despite a questionable check Thomas delivered in the second period that allowed a goal, Thomas was strong in net for the Bruins, stopping 24 shots.
Thomas said he expects the starting goaltender for Team USA to be the hottest one at the time.
“It will come down to who plays the best in the last couple of weeks leading into the Olympics,” he said. “It’s not a battle against each other so much as it is a battle to ourselves to both be at the top of our game heading into that Olympic stretch.”
For almost the entire duration of the Winter Classic, Bruins fans were pretty much out of the game -- just like the Bruins players themselves. But thanks to a Mark Rechhi goal to tie it up late in the game and a Marco Sturm winner in overtime, Bruins fans are leaving Fenway Park happy.
"The Bruins played like garbage for 58 minutes," said Phil Shields, 32, a Bruins season ticket holder, "but they pulled it off in the end."
On the flipside, Flyers fans saw their team play well for 58 minutes before it all the good play came to a hault.
"They pissed it away," said Josh Krochmal, 28.
As bad as the game may have been, Krochmal also had a problem with his seats -- quite expensive seats at that.
"I literally saw four pucks," said Krochmal, who sat ice level. "I was pretty upset with that."
The Bruins' late effort was something B's fans wanted to see from the start.
"The end result was good, but the whole game wasn't so hot," said Joe Crowley, 31. "It was quick. The B's put it to them. They should have played that way the whole game."
Now with the Winter Classic in the books, Shields is happy to have seen his Bruins on such a big stage in Fenway Park.
"The Bruins, for the past 15 years, have been the bastard child of Boston sports," said Shields, who actually considered selling his tickets. "I've been a member of Bruins nation since I was 10 and they've always been breaking my heart. ... To see them come back and win in overtime was awesome."
Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey has the Flyers' reaction from the overtime loss to the Bruins, in which Philadelphia dominated the game for 57 minutes before allowing Boston to come back and eventually win the game.
Kimmo Timonen was called for a tripping penalty late in the game that led to Recchi's goal, a call that many Flyers fans in attendance were not happy with. It was pretty inevitable that the orange and black would take a penalty or two, though, considering the way the Bruins took them to the task in the third.
"I thought that was probably their best period," Laviolette said. Still, the Flyers held the lead until late, but in the end it came down to not burying their own scoring chances, mostly thanks to being too fancy with the puck.
"I thought we played a sound offensive game right until the end," said Laviolette. "We had our opportunities, even in the overtime, and we couldn't get the second goal."
Marco Sturm redirects the puck for the game winning goal in overtime for the Boston Bruins. This is the first home team win in the Winter Classic in three tries.
We'll have in-depth player and fan reaction here on SB Nation after the game.
Mark Recchi was at the right place at the right time as he tipped in a Derek Morris shot to tie the game up at one. Fenway Park has just come to life and the ballpark is erupting with excitement after the big goal by the hometown crowd.
With the Bruins starting to show some life in the third period, the enthusiastic crowd at Fenway is urging on their respective teams with alternating chants for both the Flyers and Bruins filling the air.
The weather is near-perfect and the game has turned exciting on the ice after a slow start. Overall, you have to be impressed with the atmosphere surrounding what is in reality just a regular season game.
Some are dubbing the Winter Classic as the NHL's Super Bowl. But other than the facts that it's held outside and the majority of the games being at historic parks, how big is this game?
Fans seem to be split on how big the Winter Classic really is.
"You can't make that comparison," said Bruins fan Demetri Rizos, 40, of Danvers. "This is so unique to be able to hear Bruins fans chant at Fenway Park. To be able to chant 'Let's go, Bruins' is very special."
For John Casey, 22, the Winter Classic is is one of the best you can get.
"This is right up there with the Stanley Cup finals," Casey said. "There is nothing like seeing a game like this outside."
Others are more blunt about how big this game really is.
"It's like a souvenir; It's the NHL's souvenir," said Bruins fan Jason Contardo. "Real hockey fans care about the Stanley Cup. This is a cool one-time thing, a good gimmick. It's good for the fans."
If a football team wins the Super Bowl, they are crowned the league's best team. If a hockey team wins the Winter Classic, they earn two points. You make the decision.
After a somewhat lackluster and sloppy first period, the action was stepped up considerably in the second frame when Scott Hartnell led a furious charge by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers outshot the Bruins 12-6 in the second and had several breakaway and odd-man rushes as Boston suffered from several defensive breakdowns. The heavy forechecking and pressure by the Flyers also seemed to get under the skin of the Bruins, as the hometown team seemed more concerned with retaliation rather than defending their net.
The fact that Philadelphia leads just 1-0 is surprising, but there’s no doubt the Flyers are in complete control of the game.
All photos by Randy Booth/SBNation.com
Thanks to a nice Tim Thomas check in the crease, the Flyers have put the first goal on the board in this year’s Winter Classic.
Danny Syvret scored the goal at 4:42 in the second period. Thomas had landed a solid check to a Flyers’ forward as Syvret let go of the wrister, leaving Thomas out of position as he lunged forward for the two-handed hit.
Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell earned the assists.
It looks like this year’s Winter Classic will be precipitation-less.
According to Weather Underground, Boston will be “mostly cloudy” until a chance of snow around 7 p.m. If we’re still playing hockey at 7 p.m. then we’re going to have some issues.
Here's a shocker: Bruins fans think their team will win the Winter Classic. So do the Flyers' fans. Who would have thought that?
Here are some pre-game predictions for you straight from the fans. The Bruins and Flyers are currently scoreless after the first period:
Jeff Herman, 21: 4-3, Flyers
TJ Brogle, 18: 4-3, 5-1, Flyers (if it snows)
Alex Smetana, 24: 4-3, Bruins
Bridget Reardan, 25: 5-4, Bruins
Demetri Rizos, 40: 2-1, Bruins
Mark Shaw, 50: 4-3, Bruins
John Casey, 22: 3-2, Flyers
Josh Koehler, 29: 4-2, Flyers
In what has already become the most physical Winter Classic yet, the Flyers and Bruins are locked in a scoreless tie after a lively yet sloppy first period. The highlights at the first intermission were a brief fight and a couple of tense moments around Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
For anyone who wanted to bet Shawn Thornton and Dan Carcillo would break into a fight — the first one in Winter Classic history — well, you probably just lost money. That was an obvious one.
Carcillo got the best of Thornton, sending him to the ice quite quickly. Carcillo, sporting one of the finest mustaches in recent NHL history, signaled the “metal horns” when entering the penalty box — it drew a nice boo from the Fenway faithful.
Bruins fan TJ Brogle, 18, predicted before the game that Thornton would get into a fight.
“He wants to make his mark,” Brogle said.
Ding, ding. We have a winner.
Dan Craig's got nothing on this guy.
Craig may have created the ice surface on top of second base in Fenway Park as I type this, but Don Chapelle created this masterpiece sitting in the Specatator Plaza on Brookline Avenue.
People gathered around the ice sculpture to take photos, which weighs close to a ton and stacks up approximately six-feet high. It was built by Chapelle, founder of Brilliant Ice Sculptures out of North Andover, Mass. Chapelle said the NHL approached him about creating the sculpture for the Winter Classic.
"It was a no-brainer," Chapelle said about taking up the NHL's offer.
The logos in the ice are made out of sand and snow. The sand is the color in the logo, with snow used to keep the sand in place. Gelatin is also used to form the logos.
"So you can eat it after, too," said Chapelle's helper, Anthony Pacitto.
Don Chappelle crafts his sculpture outside of Fenway Park.
With the game set to get underway in less than 30 minutes, you chat with with fellow fans and follow the game in our respective Flyers and Bruins game threads.
The Dropkick Murphys are Boston's quintessential band with their Irish roots and Massachusetts upbringing. They will be part of the pre-game festivities with their performance of "Shipping Up To Boston." Our Bruins blogger, Evan got a few words with frontman Ken Casey:
When asked by a wiseass Bruins blogger that somehow landed a media credential to the game, if any Bruins had expressed interest in sitting in with the band like Brian Rolston and Nick Boynton had, Ken Casey outed Milan Lucic as a former band geek, "I think he was in the marching band. That's probably gonna hurt his cred."
The Flyers have had their fair share of struggles this season and with the abnormal surroundings with this regular season game, the Flyers still have to remember that this is a game to play and it still counts as two points in the standings. Travis from Broad Street Hockey has this from the Flyers:
"We started focusing on it [Thursday]," said Braydon Coburn. "Having a good practice, a few meetings and stuff, just going over what we want to do [Friday]." While players were seen pelting snowballs at Scott Hartnell during Thursday's practice on the field at Fenway, Coburn went on to say that they did get work done, trying to figure out the quirks of the rink and the things that might go on during the game.
The Flyers are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and only two points behind the Rangers in eighth place. History is on the side of the Flyers though as the home team has never won an NHL outdoor game in three instances.
With the Winter Classic a little under three hours away, it looks like it’ll be a perfect day for hockey.
Dan Craig, NHL Facilities Operations Manager, spoke this morning to members of the media and described the ice conditions as “awesome.”
“The Good Lord couldn’t have done better for us right now.”
Craig said he and his staff will be monitoring ice conditions before the game and throughout the day.
“I will be in tune with (the crew) and with the engineer of the truck,” Craig said, “because I have to make sure that the truck goes down slowly in temperature as the temperature rises outside.”
The ice temperature is “right where we want to be,” according to Craig.
As always on the morning of a Winter Classic, Craig is just hoping it all goes smoothly.
“Today, it is a calm confidence that we are going to have an awesome, awesome day at the park,” he said.
Whenever their is a game played outside, weather always becomes a factor. That is more crucial when there is ice to be played on. With the threat of rain and temperatures above freezing, the threat of the first cancelled Winter Classic loomed over the day. This forecast from the Weather Channel gives hope for the game today:
With only 10% precipitation, the game should look a lot like the Winter Classic last year in Chicago with overcast skies.
Travis Hughes from Broad Street Hockey is doing a tremendous job covering the Winter Classic at ground level, getting a feel for the excitement and the special atmosphere that surrounds the game. The fans in attendance at yesterday's activities are likening the game to the NHL's version of the Super Bowl, and the players themselves are enjoying the event with family and friends.
"Today was really special," said Mike Richards. "You think about it a little bit, and coming in, you don't really realize how special it is until you actually get out there and see Fenway Park and the Green Monster while you're playing hockey. It's pretty neat."
"By the time we got off the ice at four o'clock," said Peter Laviolette, a Massachusetts native, "it was an absolutely perfect day and a perfect ten for pond hockey and being outside, there was no snow coming down anymore. It wasn't too cold and it was just a great day. It ended perfect."
Travis has more from the Bruins and Flyers players, and how a lot of fans have brought in family for the game as well.
Be sure to check it out.
Be sure to check it out.
SB Nation's Travis Hughes of Broad Street Hockey is in Boston covering the Winter Classic and getting a feel for the atmosphere for the event from the fan's perspective. As the two past games each New Year's Day, this season's matchup between Boston and Philadelphia is shaping up to be a classic affair that fans will remember for years to come.
While the game isn't until tomorrow, fans braved the cold and the snow to take part in NHL sponsored fun outside Fenway Park. One Boston fan, when talking to Travis, likened the game to the Super Bowl:
"It's like the Super Bowl," said Mark, who's last name I did not get. "It's a once in a lifetime sort of thing that might not happen for another 20 years." I asked him about how it felt to have so many Flyers fans invading his city for what is, at its core, still a Bruins home game. "It's equal, he said, adding that there are tickets distributed to fans from each team.
Travis noted that the NHL has gone to tremendous lengths to turn what is in reality just a regular season game worth two points into a spectacle that the league is hoping appeals to more than just the hardcore hockey fans.
From a hype standpoint the NHL has really gone to every length to make the Winter Classic their premier event, much like the Super Bowl is to the NFL. Practice was broadcast live (with commentary!) in a four-plus hour special today on NHL Network. How often does that happen? There are probably six or seven stores around the ballpark that display the Winter Classic logo and exclusively sell merchandise for the game. There are banners and flags all over town and everywhere you look you see signs of the game, be it on the subway, in Chinatown, on TV, or anywhere really.
The league is going to every length to set the tone for the game and truly turn Fenway Park into a spectacle. From the snow covered field (when it was forecasted there wouldn't be real snow, at least) to the addition of the Bruins retired numbers next to those of the Red Sox to the changing of the AL East standings on the Green Monster to those of the Northeast Division, the attention to detail is fantastic.
For comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Winter Classic from the Flyers and the fan's perspective, you can also follow Travis on Twitter.
Two years ago on January 1, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres played in the NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor hockey game held at Ralph Wilson Stadium in front of 71,217 in attendance and a live national television audience on NBC. Leading up to the game, some doubted whether the it was a PR stunt that would financially backfire on the NHL; no one would show up to watch a hockey game in arctic conditions, and even less would watch the game on television on New Year's Day.
To the surprise of many (and most likely the NHL), the game was a resounding success. The Penguins and Sabres fought to a tie in regulation and overtime in the midst of steady snow showers. The sight of snow falling around the players in near-zero temperatures as they skated up and down the ice was one that will stick with many for years to come. The icing on the cake was that Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal in the shootout.
It was a riveting game played in front of millions of television viewers, and the NHL decided to go from a one-off experiment to making the Winter Classic an annual event.
This year's game will be played at Fenway Park, with the host Boston Bruins taking on the Philadelphia Flyers. When the game was scheduled it looked to be a battle between two Eastern Conference powerhouses; at this point in the season Boston has struggled to maintain their goaltending success from last year and Philadelphia has completely fallen to pieces.
Despite the early-season struggles of both teams, this year's Classic is shaping up to be just as successful as the past two (Detroit played Chicago in Wrigley Field last year). With the game being held in the much smaller Fenway Park, the NHL had to have a lottery to determine who had the chance to purchase tickets. NBC will once again be carrying the game and it will be one hell of a sight to see hockey players skating under the legendary Green Monster.
SB Nation will be on hand to cover the game, and we'll be providing as extensive a fan perspective as you'll find anywhere else on the internet.
Be sure to stick with SB Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Winter Classic from a perspective not presented anywhere else: The Fan.
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