April 15, 2012
Snapshots: Flyers-Pens finally boils over
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY
One had to believe things were eventually going to boil over between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
For a pair of teams that have genuine disdain for each other, things were pretty cordial through the first two games of the series.
Yet, what was being referred to as the Greenpeace series, turned into an all-out war Sunday as the teams amassed 133 penalty minutes, in a game which featured three fights and four ejections.
Heading into the contest, the series had yet to see a fight and had only 24 combined penalty minutes through the first two games.
But it was evident early that things were going to be different in Game 3, as four roughing penalties were assessed before all hell broke loose shortly after Danny Briere had given the Flyers a 3-1 lead.
It all started when Sidney Crosby gave Ilya Bryzgalov a few extra whacks after the Flyers goaltender covered up a shot.
Crosby was surrounded by the Flyers after the play, and while the situation appeared as though it had diffused, the Penguins captain reignited things by knocking Jakub Voracek’s glove away as he was going to pick it up.
Kimmo Timonen took exception and slashed Crosby’s stick out of his hand resulting in a 10-player pile up.
Crosby ended up squaring off with Claude Giroux, who he had been jawing with earlier, while Timonen and Kris Letang started up a second fight, which saw both players tossed.
The chippyness continued throughout the contest as the Flyers went on to take a 3-0 series lead with an 8-4 victory.
Marc-Andre Fleury looked as though he would have rather been anywhere but in goal Sunday.
The Penguins goaltender had a rough outing, letting in an atrocious first goal, and then struggling from then on.
Fleury, who went into the contest with a less-than-stellar 5.46 goals against average and .804 save percentage after the first two games of the series, gifted the Flyers their opening goal, knocking the puck into his own net while tying to freeze it.
The goal came during a Penguins power play, marking the third time in the series the Flyers have scored short-handed.
Fleury went on to give up three more goals in the period, but surprisingly was kept in the game to start the second.
He looked a little more comfortable in the middle frame, but gave up a fifth goal and then was unable to come up with an important stop in the dying seconds of the period after the Penguins had cut the lead to one.
Fleury eventually was pulled to start the third giving way to Brent Johnson, who revealed why the Penguins had stuck with their starter for so long, promptly giving up the first shot he faced.
Brendan Shanahan may not want to wait too long to schedule disciplinary hearings, for fear of falling too far behind.
The next player likely to be called onto the carpet is Penguins winger Aaron Asham, who received a match penalty for cross-checking Flyers centre Brayden Schenn in the face.
Asham went after Schenn after the first-year Flyer had run over Penguins defenceman Paul Martin along the boards.
Having been floored by the crosscheck in the face, Schenn left the contest momentarily before returning.
What about Phillips?
The New York Rangers weren’t happy about Carl Hagelin having to explain his actions to the NHL while Chris Phillips got a pass.
Hagelin had a hearing Sunday and was subsequently suspended for three games for his elbow to the head of Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson the night before.
Matt Carkner, who jumped Brian Boyle early in the contest, was given a one-game suspension.
The Rangers released a statement following the suspension saying they were “thoroughly perplexed in the ruling’s inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout the season and during the playoffs.”
Earlier in the same contest Phillips drilled Ryan Callahan into the end glass, making the head of the Rangers captain the primary point of impact.
Phillips was assessed an elbowing penalty on the play.
Some say blowing a glorious scoring opportunity is akin to conceding a goal.
If that’s the case, is saving a goal just as good as scoring one?
For Nashville Predators defenceman Kevin Klein, the answer would be, ‘Yes’, as he not only scored Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings, but prevented one as well.
Klein scored a dazzling goal in the second period, undressing Brad Stuart before snapping a shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard.
In the third with the Predators up a goal, Klein got a skate on Cory Emmerton’s effort towards an open net off a rebound.
Long time coming
While the Florida Panthers had not played a playoff game in 12 years prior to taking part in this year’s dance, it had been 15 since their last post-season win.
The Panthers last playoff win came in the opening game of their 1997 first-round series against the Rangers.
Stephen Weiss, who has been with the Panthers for the last 10 years, scored his first two playoff goals Sunday in the 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.