The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic has come and gone, and the NHL has kicked the New Year off with a hard-fought contest between Toronto and Detroit. Considering the Flyers have participated in two Classics and are rumored to participate in next year's, this week's Flyers Five takes a look at the most dramatic moments in Winter Classic history.
5a. Pittsburgh and Buffalo go to a shootout -- The very first Winter Classic went to a shootout, which the Penguins won. 2008's game featured two of the league's premier goalies in Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Miller, so it was evident from the get-go that a low-scoring game was in order. This reflected in both teams scoring a goal apiece through 65 minutes.
5b. Toronto and Detroit go to a shootout -- I consider this year's Classic to be one of the best in the game's history, as the Red Wings fought to tie the game in the third period. It's a sin this game had to be settled with a shootout, and settle in anti-climactic fashion.
4. Pittsburgh and Washington play under the lights -- The 2011 Classic between the Penguins and Capitals was originally scheduled for the afternoon; however, weather concerns pushed the time back to 8 p.m. As if playing outdoors wasn't exciting enough, playing under the lights was even more thrilling. The Flyers and Rangers also played a 3 p.m. start time in 2012, so the game ended as the sun was down and the lights were on. I'm surprised the NHL hasn't considered playing the game at night more, though.
3. Crosby gets hurt -- Regardless of your opinion on Sidney Crosby, there's no denying he's been one of the NHL's most marketed players. Throughout 2011, Crosby's biggest storyline was a concussion that sidelined him through the rest of 2010-11 and part of the 2011-12 campaign. While it's unknown exactly what caused his concussion, it's believed a blindside hit by David Steckel in the 2011 game set off the chain of events. A marquee player was injured in a marquee game.
2. Danny Briere's penalty shot -- With 19.6 seconds left and a tenuous 3-2 Rangers lead, defenseman Ryan McDonagh was whistled for covering the puck in the crease just before it crossed the goal line, resulting in a penalty shot. Subsequently, the Flyers elected Danny Briere to take the shot. He aimed for Henrik Lundqvist's five-hole and missed, effectively sealing the game. The penalty shot is the most dramatic play in hockey, and a one-goal lead adds to the drama.
1. Cancelling the 2013 game -- The Winter Classic has featured the highest-rated regular season games and has generated millions upon millions of dollars for teams, host cities, television networks and more. When the NHL locked out on Sept. 15, 2012, there was optimism that the season can be salvaged in time for the event. But in a dramatic twist, the league cancelled the event on Nov. 2, validating the seriousness of the lockout and raising doubt for a season.