J.T. Miller celebrates his game-winning goal in OT.  USATSI

In the 10th edition of its annual New Year's Day game, the NHL welcomed in a new calendar year by strapping on extra layers and heading outside for some outdoor hockey. 

The 2018 Winter Classic saw the New York Rangers go up against the Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets. The Rangers managed to pull out the dramatic 3-2 victory, beating the Sabres in overtime to start off the new year right. It was an important win for the Rangers, who are right smack in the middle of a tight division race.

It seems like some people find that these outdoor games are a bit played out at this point -- especially because they often feature sloppy hockey -- but it's always an interesting spectacle to behold, even if just for the sights and sounds of hockey in the elements.

Here are five takeaways from the action in New York on Monday afternoon.

It was cold

NHL: Winter Classic-Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers
New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh during the first period. USATSI

It probably shouldn't come as much of a shock that an outdoor game held in New York in early January was a bit nippy, but the temperature at puck drop (1 p.m EST) was just above 20 degrees Farenheit. Considering how cold the northeast pocket of the United States has been in recent days, that actually seems pretty luxurious. However, the wind was strong throughout the contest and there were a lot of comments about just how bitter cold it felt down at ice level. Players in these games never seem to be too impacted by the cold, as the adrenaline and blood gets rushing after the first shift. However, sitting in the stands for three hours can be grueling, so credit to the fans that toughed it out.

It was a great jersey matchup

NHL: Winter Classic-Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers
Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) chases the puck with Buffalo Sabres right wing Kyle Okposo (21) during the second period. USATSI

A staple of the annual Winter Classic event is the jerseys that come along with it. The teams involved design special uniforms for the occasion, typically with a retro aesthetic to pay homage to their franchise history and to fit the throwback feel of outdoor hockey. This year's game between the Rangers and Sabres featured two fantastic uniform sets that looked great out on the ice, though I'd give Buffalo the advantage. In fact, the Sabres' set might be the best of any Winter Classic uniform yet.

Shadows were prevalent early on


Often in these Winter Classic games, teams have to overcome and adjust to something revolving around the outdoor setting. Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's the condition of the ice, sometimes it's the glare. Today, it was the shadows cast by Citi Field, especially early on. During the first period, those shadows were all over the ice and it became somewhat difficult to track the puck. Even watching on TV was a bit jarring as the puck traveled from the areas illuminated by bright sunlight into the shadows of the park's architecture. Luckily, the ice evened out a bit and the shadows began to disappear as the game went on with the sun descending.

Overtime provided an exciting finish

It wasn't the most thrilling or sexy game, but the ending was a fun one. The Sabres managed to erase an early 2-0 deficit and force overtime, but it was the Rangers who came away victorious in the end. A Buffalo penalty gave the Rangers a 4-on-3 in the extra frame and forward J.T. Miller was able to stuff home a rebound off a Kevin Shattenkirk shot to give New York the win. The Sabres were technically the home team in this matchup but, with the game held in Queens, plenty of Rangers fans were in attendance and got to go home happy. It's the fourth time in 10 years that the Winter Classic has been decided in overtime or a shootout. 

Henrik Lundqvist stays undefeated outdoors

NHL: Winter Classic-Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the first period. USATSI

Both goaltenders were pretty good in this one, as Buffalo's Robin Lehner made 39 stops and New York's Henrik Lundqvist made 31 of his own. They both deserve plenty of credit for keeping their respective teams in the game but it was Lundqvist who got the victory, keeping him undefeated in outdoor games throughout his career. The Swedish goalie is now 4-0-0 in these spectacles, with two Winter Classic victories and two Stadium Series wins. Not surprisingly, he's played a large role in all of those victories for the Rangers. Now if only they could hold playoff games outdoors ...