Friday, October 14, 2005

Battle of Pennsylvania @ Blogspot

Okay, so it doesn't quite have it's own blog dedicated to the rivalry, so I guess I'll have to start one here. Sure we could have the Battle of Ontario, the Battle of Alberta, heck.. there's probably a Battle of Antietam somewhere in the blogspot universe.

But the story in the Battle of Pennsylvania is two bitter rivals who have a long history, a storied playoff history, and the fans hate each other too! The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers met in the cheesesteak capital for game one of an 8 game regular season series set by decree of the new NHL.

Fleury got the start for the Pens as did the AHL hero Niittymaki for the Flyers. Right off the bat, the Flyers played tough and scored 2 times in the first to put the Pens in a hole.

The story of this game was going to be how well former Flyers Recchi and LeClair were going to be received. Some Flyer fans held signs displaying their loyalty in hopes that their former heroes would return home again someday. LeClair would park himself in front of the net all game and deflect a Ric Jackman shot from the blueline to cut the lead in half.

It was all downhill after that. The Penguins saw a real frustrated Crosby as he was visibly pushed around by his numerical counterpart Donald Brashear and Derian Hatcher. Crosby yelled and screamed tonight, but nobody seemed to care. Welcome to the NHL, Crosby.

The Forsberg to Gagne connection put the Flyers up 4-1 and a frustrated Fleury found himself on the bench.

Playing with a ton of confidence a starting goaltender should have, Sebastian Caron, made the save of the season by stopping Brian Savage with 1:11 seconds to go in regulation. Instantly, the hall of fame broadcaster, Mike Lange compared it to a similar miracle save that was used by Frank Pieterangelo against Stasny years ago.

The Penguins did catch up to the Flyers and tied the game with a sleeping Niittymaki getting scored upon by Maxime Talbot'’s shot from the faceoff way out by the blueline. The Penguins found themselves tied at 5-5 with enough time still in the third period.

It wasn't enough in the tank for the Penguins. Again, they went into overtime, but couldn't get it done. Mike Rathje scored a power play goal in OT to put the Flyers in the win column.

Other notables: Sidney Crosby has scored a point in all of the Penguins games thus far and currently stands 2 games behind Alexandre Daigle in #1 overall draft picks in game point streaks.

#1 Overall Draft Pick Point Streaks
Daigle 7
Ovechkin 6
Crosby 5
Lindros 5
Lemieux 3
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