Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Rangers: 2012 Winter Classic Post-Game Analysis

This Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers was one intense rivalry.  On one side, there was the New York Rangers who was first in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; on the other, there was the Philadelphia Flyers who was nipping the Rangers at second place within the Atlantic Division.  Within this rivalry, there were two players who posed their own.  There was Flyers center Claude Giroux who was the second offensive leader with 45 points; and on the other, one of the top goalies of the NHL, the New York Rangers goalie Henry Lundqvist ranked third currently with a 1.91 GAA.  Finally, there was history between these two teams — the Battle of the Broads.  This has been an epic division rivalry extending from the 1974-75 season.  With both teams meeting each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Flyers had the edge in the rivalry with six wins out of ten.  Now these two teams are confronting each other in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.

The first period of the Winter Classic was action-filled.  Both the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers were playing a chess game as each line challenged each other.  With the New York Rangers power play at 19:33,  Flyers Andrej Meszaros had a shot on goal, but it was blocked by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.  The Rangers answered back with their shot on Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky by Ryan McDonagh.  The Philadelphia Flyers had the edge on shots with 12, but the Rangers had the edge on hits with 21.  This rivalry was indeed coming to fruition, and two more periods to go.

The second period began with the Rangers taking the initiative, but soon, the Philadelphia Flyers overcame the Rangers defense.  The Flyers forechecks were impressive as they continued pressure on Henry Lundqvist.  Ultimately, after winning the face-off at 12:26, Philadelphia Flyers Brayden Schenn scored a goal on Lundqvist finally after a rebound.  With the Flyers continued pressure, Claude Giroux scores on another shot assisted by Maxime Talbot and Scott Hartnell.  However, it appeared that the Rangers were dead in the water momentarily, but the Rangers answered quickly with their score by Michael Rupp with an assist by Brandon Prust on Sergei Bobrovsky.  The intensity has increased between the two teams, and the second period closed with a score of 2-1 Flyers.  Both teams needed a breather after that period.

After the second period intermission with Philadelphia’s Roots, it was time to start the last period as the flurries began falling down upon Citizens Bank Park.  After a short interchange on both sides of the ice in the first few minutes, Rangers left wing Michael Rupp ties the game with another score at 17:19 with assists by Brandon Prust and John Mitchell.  With three minutes, the Rangers score again and break the tie.  This time a shot by Ranger center Brad Richards scores on Bobrovsky as it flies over his left leg into the net at 14:39.  The Rangers continue their onslaught in the offensive zone.  Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had three shots on him by Carl Hagelin, Brian Boyle and Daniel Girardi at around six minutes left in the game.  At 5:12, the Flyers have a power play against the Rangers, but they fail to score.  Within the last two minutes, out of desperation, the Flyers pull Bobrovsky for another attacker on net, but they could not score on Rangers elite veteran goalie Henry Lundqvist.  The Philadelphia Flyers had another chance with a penalty shot by Daniel Briere but to no avail.

This game was one of attrition for certain as the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 3-2.  The first two periods were primarily dominated by the Flyers, and the Rangers dominated the last period.  Rangers commanding forecheck in the third period won this game, and they extend their lead in the Atlantic Division.  Having a great goalie wins games, and Henry Lundqvist won the 2012 Winter Classic for the New York Rangers.

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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers: NFC Wild Card Post-Game Analysis

This had become one of the coldest games this wild card weekend at Lincoln Financial Field .  This game was a rematch of the week 1 battle against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers.  This was a battle of one of the most fearsome defenses and consistent quarterbacks against one of the most explosive wide receivers and hybrid rushing-passing quarterbacks.  While Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers suffered his second concussion recently, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia has suffered a thigh and a rib injury previously.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • The Green Bay Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood touched the ball upon the punt early first quarter and gave the ball to the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Packers defense stepped up and saved a score by the foot of David Akers.
  • The Green Bay Packers only respected the rush from Michael Vick, but they didn’t respect the run from LeSean McCoy or Jerome Harrison. Combined, McCoy and Harrison had a total of 49 yards rushing the entire game.
  • The knee injury of potent wide receiver DeSean Jackson early first quarter due to a tackle of LeSean McCoy was devastating for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he did not play much until late second quarter. He did end the day with 47 yards receiving and 23.5 yards per reception.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles defense underestimated the run ability of the Green Bay Packers.  The Eagles defense was still vulnerable to the run, which was never corrected during the regular season. James Starks tore up the Eagles defense in this game with 123 yards rushing, and established a Green Bay record for rushing by a rookie in a post-season game.
  • Eagles coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael Vick both exhausted two timeouts in the first quarter. Clock mismanagement came back…again. Not that much improved in the second half, as all timeouts were exhausted by mid-fourth quarter.
  • Michael Vick gained more rushing yardage of 28 yards into the half, more than LeSean McCoy and Jerome Harrison combined with a total of 25 yards.
  • Aaron Rodgers understood balance, as he distributed the ball to all his nine receivers, including his running back James Starks and fullback John Kuhn.  The Eagles could not contain all the threats nor Rodger’s arm.
  • The fumble early third quarter by Aaron Rodgers near the red zone of Green Bay was deadly as Michael Vick capitalized on it with a touchdown to wide receiver Jason Avant from 24 yards out.
  • David Akers missed two field goals, one in the first quarter and the next in the fourth quarter, at home nonetheless.  Stunning.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles defense is mediocre in the red zone. Again. Three scores to Tom Crabtree, James Jones and Brandon Jackson is all that there need to be said.
  • The missed two-point conversion due to Eagles tight end Brent Celek in late fourth quarter was crucial in terms of points and momentum. And the retry only injured Michael Vick’s ankle.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers 21-16 at the Linc.  With the late injuries to Eagles tight end Brent Celek and quarterback Michael Vick, the Eagles crumbled, and Vick had one last interception by cornerback Tramon Williams in the endzone. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers outplayed Michael Vick with 3 touchdowns and a 122.5 quarterback rating, and the entire Packers offense got involved.  Now it’s Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to play Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.