Right in the kisser

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- Asked where Ryan Bayda's stick had made contact with his face, Kris Letang pointed directly at his pearly whites.

"Right in the teeth," the Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman said yesterday, relieved that none of his chicklets had been dislodged by Bayda's lumber.

Bayda was slapped with a match penalty for his cross-check to Letang with less than two minutes remaining in the Penguins' 7-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, a perceived attempt to injure which landed him an immediate suspension pending a review.

After going over the evidence yesterday, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell decided the foul was not as severe as first believed. As a result, Bayda was handed a $2,500 US fine but managed to wriggle out of any suspension.

Bayda's shot at Letang led to a feisty brouhaha, one which included Letang dropping the gloves with Tim Gleason and the normally mild-mannered Miro Satan going fist city with Carolina's Patrick Eaves.

"I saw everyone after the cross check," Letang said of the incident, several hours before Campbell had made his ruling. "I just saw everyone coming at me. They were icing the puck. I was just going back to try to touch the puck. He got his stick up.

"I know they are going to review it. I'm not the one to judge."

The fracas exemplified the bad blood that finally has emerged in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, which the Penguins lead 2-0. Pittsburgh players believe the ill-will carry over into Game 3, which goes tonight at the raucous RBC Center in Raleigh.

"I expect them to be a physical desperate team and will be in our faces as much as possible," defenceman Hal Gill said.

According to Gill, Satan's willingness to fight showed the Hurricanes that the Pens will not be intimidated.

"I think it sends a big message that we'll do whatever it takes," Gill said. "We don't necessarily need Miro to fight to do that but that's what happened. Sitting on the bench watching it, you realize that guys will do whatever it takes, even if it's out of character like Miro fighting."

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos