HBO had the cameras rolling during Saturday's game for its "24/7" weekly series leading up to the Winter Classic on Jan. 2, and the producers now have some intriguing items in the can.
Not only was the Garden crowd raucous early, but the on-ice bouts in the first -- featuring Brandon Prust against Zac Rinaldo and then Prust against Wayne Simmonds -- were full of combinations that landed. And John Tortorella provided some colorful language in his postgame interview, even if it was recycled.
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Last season, after a tremendous shot-blocking effort, Tortorella said defenseman Dan Girardi had "[guts] as big as the building." Yesterday, he used the same turn of phrase for the forward he calls "Pruster." "He's been in and out in terms of my trust in his game," Tortorella said. "Today I thought he stood tall and set the tone right away."
Prust, who said he didn't know if he was going to start the game, took advantage of the initial matchup with Rinaldo, and later Simmonds, after each was sent off for a minor scrape. Said Prust, "We made eye contact coming out of the penalty box."
Henrik Lundqvist said the Rangers played with a lot of confidence. But he took note of the Flyers who didn't play because of injuries. "I'm not going to lie," he said. "I was pretty happy to see [Jaromir] Jagr and [Chris] Pronger out tonight."
Blue notesThe Rangers' 6-1-1 start at home is their best since 1992-93, and they are 7-0-1 when leading after the second period . . . Brad Richards has 11 points in the last 12 games . . . D Ryan McDonagh had six blocked shots in 24:39 and has assists in three straight games . . . D Michael del Zotto, who had an assist, was very active with five hits, four blocked shots and four shots.