The Rangers’ comeback victory of their solely earlier Winter Traditional look, the 2012 affair in Philadelphia, started with an unlikely scorer and a conspicuous gesture.
Mike Rupp solely logged 7:34 that day towards the Flyers, however he performed an infinite position by scoring two straight targets after the Rangers trailed 2-Zero, the primary of which got here 30 seconds after Philly doubled its lead. That first objective was punctuated with Rupp delivering then-Flyer Jaromir Jagr’s well-known salute, offering one of many sport’s signature moments.
“There’s nothing predetermined. I didn’t rating sufficient to do one thing like that,” Rupp recalled to the Each day Information. “I feel it was a little bit little bit of pushback. It was on the subsequent shift after their objective that put them up 2-Zero. That’s an enormous response from a group to do it immediately. It’s sort of such as you punch the opponent within the chin a little bit bit and say, ‘Hey, we’re right here too.’ So I feel doing (the salute) was a little bit little bit of that as properly.”
Rupp, who will likely be a part of NHL Community’s Winter Traditional pre-and-postgame protection Monday when the Rangers play the Sabres at Citi Subject, instantly obtained underneath the pores and skin of some Flyers gamers.
The salute was a Jagr trademark and regardless of Rupp mimicking it seeming merely cheeky, some took the spur-of-the-moment celebration as an indication of disrespect.
“He most likely simply meant to piss off the followers,” Marc Staal, one in every of three present Rangers who performed within the 2012 sport, mentioned of Rupp. “I don’t assume he meant it as any disrespect. But when you may get Philly off their sport, that’s a superb factor.”
After scoring that objective at 14:51 of the second, Rupp tied the sport 2:41 into the third, securing his sixth profession multi-goal sport earlier than Brad Richards scored the go-ahead objective and Henrik Lundqvist stopped Danny Briere’s penalty shot with 19.6 seconds left to seal the win.
“You’ve got sure moments in a season the place you might have a possibility for a group to provoke and are available a little bit bit nearer, and I feel that’s what it was for us,” Rupp mentioned. “We had that sport circled on our calendars for a very long time. You’re in Philadelphia. It doesn’t get extra of a hostile surroundings than Philly.”
The Rangers received’t be in hostile territory Monday in Flushing, the primary Winter Traditional in New York Metropolis. The anticipation has been constructing, with the Rangers skating in Central Park earlier this month, cameras following them round for the Highway to the Winter Traditional tv collection and new gear being damaged in.
Although it counts as a lot as the opposite 81 video games, the consequence win or lose can really feel quite a bit heavier than regular in line with Rupp, who performed in two Winter Classics.
“Whenever you lose, it feels such as you get knocked out of the playoffs, and while you win it feels such as you received a spherical,” Rupp mentioned. “It’s on a unique degree. Whenever you expertise these issues collectively, it brings you nearer.”