The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers heated up yesterday afternoon as the Flyers completely destroyed the defense of the Penguins with an 8-4 win. As frustrations grew for the Penguins they seemed to be more focused on fighting than on playing hockey.
It’s usually the Flyers that are known for causing the fights and stirring things up a bit but the Penguins were the ones stirring things up. I can’t even count the number of times Penguins captain Sidney Crosby intentionally punched a Flyers player in the back of the head. Surprise surprise, he never got a penalty. He did however get a penalty for fighting with Claude Giroux. I think it’s funny that two concussion-prone guys feel the need to fight with each other but hey it was much of a fight anyway. Kris Letang fought Kimmo Timonen in the same incident and they were both thrown out of the game.
Here’s a look at the first period fight between Crosby/Giroux and Letang/Timonen:
The “rough stuff” continued throughout the hockey game and I can understand the Pittsburgh Penguins were trying to get their team going but in a few cases I think they went to far. The retaliation by Aaron Asham on Brayden Schenn was a bit uncalled for. I mean yes Schenn charged Paul Martin hard into the boards but Asham deliberately crosschecked Schenn then pounded on him when he was down. That was a selfish play by Asham who received a match penalty for intentionally trying to injure his opponent.
In the final minutes of the hockey game James Neal took a run at Claude Giroux. Giroux was able to get up but the Flyers bench was furious. Then the fighting began again. Sidney Crosby continued to mouth-off at the Flyers bench and in particularly at Scott Hartnell. Hartnell came onto the ice for his next shift and grabbed Crosby’s stick. Crosby then proceeded to grab Hartnell from behind and pull him to the ground. When Hartnell started fighting back Craig Adams jumped in and fought Hartnell for Crosby. I am if your going to start a fight Sid then you should probably finish it. Both Adams and Hartnell were ejected from the game.
Here’s a look at the 3rd period fight and the Flyers fans chant “You Can’t Beat Us!”:
This game had more to it then just fights. Maxime Talbot, Danny Briere and Matt Read each scored two goals for the Flyers and Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux each added a goal. Scoring for Pittsburgh was Jordan Staal and James Neal each with two goals. Have you noticed something weird? That’s right! Where’s Malkin? Art Ross Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin has yet to score a goal in this year’s playoffs. Flyers rookie Sean Couturier has been all over Malkin. Malkin isn’t the only Penguins player that has failed to show up for the playoffs. Did anyone tell Marc-Andre Fleury that these games are important. Fleury was pulled yesterday after allowing 6 goals in the first two periods. I mean goaltending hasn’t been strong at either end of the ice but Fleury just isn’t performing well. He gave up 8 goals against the Flyers on Friday and 4 goals on Wednesday. I mean when you have a goaltender with a goals against average of 2.36 in the regular season and now his goals against average is 6.34 something is obviously wrong.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will need to regain their composure if they plan on beating the Philadelphia Flyers. Players like Malkin and Fleury will need to show up and play hockey. Crosby will need to cool off a bit and get back to playing hockey instead of starting fights. The Penguins have let the Flyers get under the skin and now they are down 3-0 in the series. Wednesday night could possibly be their last game if they don’t their act together. For a team that was favored to go all the way they are sure coming up short!