NHL Winter Classic is finally here

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PHILADELPHIA — Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr hit the ice looking more ready to shag flies than practice the power play.

The Philadelphia Flyers stars smeared eye black to fight the glare on a sunny morning as they skated on a rink constructed on the site of two Fall Classics that underwent a makeover as it shifted into the home of the Winter Classic.

Cold, wind, ice. Conditions that usually spoil the enjoyment of a World Series game are on deck for the fifth edition of the NHL’s inside-the-park extravaganza, this one set for 3 p.m. today between the Flyers and the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.

Amid the HBO cameras and Stanley Cup-atmosphere that has infused the game with enough energy to power the rink, a little perspective came Sunday from the Rangers and Flyers in their final practices.

“When we wake up, all the fun is going to be over,” Giroux said, “and it’s about two points on the ice.”

The game was pushed back two hours because of a revised weather forecast that should offer optimal game conditions for players and fans.

The game was scheduled for 1 p.m. The gates will now open at 1 p.m.

Last year’s game at Pittsburgh was moved into prime time because of rain.

“Let’s play,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “It’s time to play the game.”

Temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s today.

PREDATORS 5, FLAMES 3

In Nashville, Tenn., Sergei Kostitsyn scored three goals to lead Nashville to its third consecutive win.

Kevin Klein and Matt Halischuk also scored for Nashville.

Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque and Brendan Morrison scored for the Flames, who have lost three in a row.

Kostitsyn’s first goal gave Nashville a 2-1 lead. His second made it 4-1 and he capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.

Iginla, stationed in front of the crease, beat goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot 3:47 into the game.

Klein tied the game with 7:21 left in the first period when he blasted a slap shot from the blue line that beat goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff to his glove side.


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