Flyers feel cheated

DAVID W. UNKLE -- Special to SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:31 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA--Following Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, it was clear they felt they didn't deserve the fate they were dealt.

Alex Tanguay's 19th goal with just 46 seconds remaining in the extra period propelled the Colorado to their seventh consecutive win, their longest streak since Jan. 16-30, 2001.

With defenceman Kim Johnsson, whose miscue resulted in Alex Tanguay's game-winner, off for a slashing call, defenceman Mike Rathje tangled with Colorado's Joe Sakic and was whistled for hooking.

"The second penalty in the overtime was a dive," said frustrated Flyers head coach, Ken Hitchcock referring to the controversial call on Rathje with 1:52 remaining.

"Everybody on the ice knew it, (the Colorado) bench knew it, our players knew it. It was a dive, that's more of the issue. (Sakic) grabbed Hatcher's (actually Rathje's) stick, hooked it under his body and went down. It was a dive."

"I was going after the puck but it doesn't matter" said Rathje when asked for his take on the call. "All you have to do is fall down and you get a penalty."

John-Michael Liles and Brett Clark scored 2:24 apart between the first and second periods to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead over the road-weary Flyers.

Johnsson brought the home team to within one goal before Antti Laaksonen seemed to put things away for Colorado with his 10th goal of the season at 5:27 of the third period, giving the visitors a 3-1 lead.

Perhaps the Wachovia Center appearance by Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone inspired the Flyers as both Mike Knuble and Simon Gagne grabbed markers late in the third period to send the game into overtime.

"I'd be really surprised if Joe took a dive," said Colorado defenceman, Ian Laperriere. "That's not the kind of player he is."

Sakic was more then surprised upon hearing Hitchcock's post-game comments.

"Dive? I don't dive, and Hitch should know that," said Sakic. "(Rathje) is a big man and I was just going for the puck."

For the record, the two met in the hallway separating the two dressing rooms soon thereafter. Sakic went up to Hitchcock to discuss the comments although their conversation could not be heard.

"Hitch is Hitch and you just have to let him go, he gets mad," said Sakic.


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