24/7 Recap: The Ultimate Winter Classic Foreplay

In the latest episode, Lavs goes ballistic as the intensity reaches new levels

The newest episode of 24/7 opens up with Lavs flipping out on the team for a perceived lack of effort through the first two periods of the Avalanche game. The speech did the trick as the team came back and tied the game on a Danny Briere goal with 19 seconds remaining. The Avs managed to best the Flyers in a shootout, though, handing the team its second straight loss.

Luckily, Claude Giroux was cleared to practice with the team in Dallas and makes a start against the Stars–a game in which he proved just how vital he is to the success of this team. Giroux ended the game with a goal and three assists, though the 24/7 highlight comes after the first period when Peter Laviolette tells Dallas’ Steve Ott to go fuck himself. After the game he has convenient amnesia and can’t remember what may or may not have happened between him and the Stars forward. Later, though, Lavy and the other coaches have a good laugh watching a replay of the interaction while scouting the Rangers from a pub in New York.

Meanwhile, the Rangers get into the Christmas spirit with an ugly sweater party, an outdoor family skate at Rockafella Center, and a Christmas tree shopping trip with Marian Gaborik. The Rangers hosted the Islanders in a cross-town rivalry game in which everyone gets all excited because Brandon Dubinsky actually scored a goal. A 4-2 win over the Islanders extended the team’s winning streak to three games as the Flyers prepared for the matchup at Madison Square Garden that was expected to be the ultimate Winter Classic foreplay.

The Flyers hadn’t scored a goal in Madison Square Garden in what seemed like an eternity, but they carried a division lead into what Lavs called “the biggest game of the year.” Unsurprisingly, the game got physical quickly. A hip check on Flyers rookie Matt Read upped the intensity in a first period that saw Rinaldo drop the gloves and newcomer Sesito tell the Rangers bench he was going to beat the shit out of the entire roster.

The second period saw two Ranger goals that left the Flyers playing from behind in the final frame. Marian Gaborik quickly extended that lead to three goals when he beat Bryzgalov on a breakaway. Mezaros was able to find the net to end New York’s shutout bid, but a fourth goal from the Rangers put the game out of reach. The 4-2 final extended the Rangers’ win streak and pulled them even with Philadelphia in the division standings.

After the Winter Classic preview, the teams had a few days off for Christmas. The HBO cameras spent some time atop the Art Museum steps to get footage of Philadelphians jogging to the top and doing their best Rocky impressions. Later, some of the Flyers bachelors got together and spent the time at Scott Hartnell’s Philadelphia loft and made their way to a Christmas Eve Mass. Bryz spent the holiday with his family in Jersey, though he did take some time off to explain his many faces to the HBO crew.

The third episode of the series culminates with some shots of the NHL crew erecting the outdoor rink on the field at Citizens Bank Park with some overhead shots of the city. The mood of the episodes, much like that of the Flyers, has intensified as the Winter Classic nears. It’s no longer about the size of the universe or Mac Miller songs. It’s become clear that the focus is on beating the Rangers, and the final episode—to air a few days after the outdoor game on January 2nd—will chronicle just how intense the mood, and this rivalry, has become.