Fans cheer during the first period of the New Year's...

Fans cheer during the first period of the New Year's Day Winter Classic NHL hockey game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park. (January 1, 2010) Credit: AP

The Rangers will face the Flyers in the NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 2, at 8 p.m., sources with knowledge of the planning confirmed Tuesday. The long-running rumors of the pairing for the outdoor game will be confirmed officially with the release of the NHL schedule this week.

It will be the NHL's fifth Classic -- all televised by NBC -- and will include HBO's "24/7" series as a lead-in, as it did for the Capitals-Penguins game last season. This all-access show should be particularly interesting, because Rangers coach John Tortorella prefers a more controlled approach to media coverage.

The previous Winter Classics were staged Jan. 1, but that is a Sunday next year, and NBC is committed to an NFL broadcast. The NHL had hoped to schedule a game at Yankee Stadium, but the five-year deal for the Pinstripe Bowl in the week after Christmas scrapped that idea.

The scene at the Phillies' ballpark, which seats about 44,000, will be far different from when the Rangers last played outdoors Sept. 27, 1991, in preseason against the Kings in the parking lot of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A crowd of about 14,000, watching in 80-degree weather, saw the Rangers lose, 5-2.

The Flyers played in the 2010 Winter Classic, losing to the Bruins, 2-1, at Fenway Park.

More Rangers