PITTSBURGH -- The Flyers have just tonight's contest with the Penguins separating them from hosting hockey's biggest New Year's party.
HBO's "24/7" reality series has added fuel to an already intense rivalry, but if you've been following the Flyers this season, you'll know that they haven't won in 3 straight trips to Madison Square Garden and they have yet to beat the Rangers this season.
But what will happen on Monday under the open winter air at Citizens Bank Park?
EA SPORTS released their simulation prediction of the 2012 Winter Classic on Thursday. They have the Flyers topping the Rangers, 3-1, at the Bank.
EA SPORTS' NHL 12 simulation, performed on an XBOX 360, has Rangers forward Artem Anisimov opening the scoring in the first period, but the Flyers counter with goals from Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr to win.
So, how much stock can be put in the simulation? They picked the Blackhawks to beat the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
They also predicted the Vancouver Canucks as the 2011 Presidents' Trophy winner; and the 2011 Stanley Cup Final matchup of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. Then again, they haven't told us when they're wrong.
The simulation is conducted by artificial intelligence or logic of the videogame that uses real-life data from each player. Results are extrapolated by the videogame when two teams match up based on player ratings, line combinations, and include variances such as injuries and hot streaks to give a realistic outcome of a game or series.
CROSBY STRUGGLING: Dan Bylsma's announcement yesterday - that his star center, Sidney Crosby, is experiencing concussion symptoms - will not be confused with groundbreaking news. But it was the first time the Penguins had officially addressed Crosby's status since No. 87 last spoke with the media on Dec. 12.
Crosby, 24, has not skated since sustaining a concussion during a minor hit in Boston on Dec. 5. He has only performed light, off-ice exercises.
Crosby returned to the lineup on Nov. 21 after missing 68 straight games, including playoffs, with post-concussion syndrome. He racked up 12 points in 8 games before suffering his latest blow. Tonight will be the 9th straight game Crosby is out for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins will also be without All-Star defenseman Kris Letang, who has been out since Nov. 26 with a concussion.
UNDEFEATED: The Flyers are 3-0-0 at Consol Energy Center since it opened in Oct. 2010. With it's huge video board, great sightlines and open concourses, Consol may just be the nicest, top-end arena in the NHL today.