NHL Winter Classic 2012: Battle of the Goalies Favors the Rangers

Dominic Errico@SteelCityVoiceCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 1: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers looks on during practice for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers will be benching the goaltender they call "Universe" and will go with backup Sergei Bobrovsky. 

Ilya Bryzgalov told reporters that he will not be the starting goaltender for the Flyers in Monday's NHL Winter Classic. 

Instead the Flyers will go with backup Bobrovsky, who is coming off a strong showing in a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bobrovsky stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced against Pittsburgh for a strong save percentage of .923. 

This will not be the first Winter Classic to feature a backup goaltender starting between the pipes. The first Classic saw Pittsburgh's backup Ty Conklin start in goal and he ended up getting the win. 

Bobrovsky will be facing off against Henrik "The King" Lundqvist. Lundqvist currently ranks fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.937) and GAA (1.91).

Lundqvist has owned the Flyers so far this season, allowing only two goals in two games against them.  The first game was a 2-0 shutout on November 26th. He stopped all 29 shots in that contest. The second game saw him save 28 of 30 shots. 

Overall the Rangers are the second stingiest defensive unit in the league, allowing only 68 goals (2.1 goals per game). This should give them the edge in what should be a great hockey game.

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