Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Battle of Pennsylvania @ Blogspot: 8th and Final Edition

I hope you all have enjoyed reading the game recaps of one of the best hockey rivalries in the NHL. It has certainly proven to be a great series with the Penguins gaining some ground back on the Flyers to be competitive. Some of the drama featured in the series had Crosby slamming home a goal in OT. In other games, we saw Forsberg and Gagne work their magic as linemates and dominate the scoreboard.

Before the game started, the Penguins got news that Petr "Floppah" Forsberg wasn't going to suit up for tonight's game because of the lingering groin injury. The Flyers are trying to catch up with the division rival Rangers to get a favorable position in the post season. The Penguins on the other hand had to help Crosby in his personal scoring race with pressures of their own.

The first period was deadlocked at 0-0 as goaltenders Esche and Caron got patted on the back. The Penguins who were unusually awkward in the opening period were trailing behind again in shots 7-4.

The second period saw the usual Penguin killers at work once again. Simon Gagne scored his 45th goal of the season with Brian Savage and Joni Pitkanen adding to the lead. But, the Penguins would come back with a little hope of their own. "Jonny on the spot" Michel Ouellet scored his 15th goal of the year in the waning minutes of the period. The Flyers and Penguins then gathered in their respective locker rooms with Philly up 3-1.

The third period caused Crosby to button up his chin strap and get determined to not fall behind further in the chase for 100 points. A minute and a half into the period, Ryan Whitney scored a goal to put the Pens in good position 3-2. Crosby got an assist in that point and scored his own goal to tie up the game at 3-3. This put the Penguins in good shape to try for OT against the Flyers or just finish the game all together. The Flyers were the ones to play spoiler tonight though. With six and a half minutes to go, 4th line tough guy, Andre Roy gets assessed a penalty for slashing leaving the Flyers opportunity to use their awesome powerplay.

The Flyers got the last laugh as Jeff Carter was credited for the game winner at the 13:28 mark. It did take some great efforts at the last few minutes for former Flyer John LeClair to try to tie it once more. This was his last time skating on Philly ice this season.

It was a great series to watch if you were a fan of hockey in the state of Pennsylvania. Since the NHL has adopted the 8 game rivalries against division opponents, I love the idea of seeing the Flyers this many times as the rivalry is that much more exciting and ads so much more to watching NHL hockey.

The Flyers win the 8 game series 6-2 and the Penguins will have to retool for next season to try to gain ground in the rivalry. Rest assured, there will be some great hockey to be played next year.

If you want to review the series, you can check out my game recaps for the other seven games this season. Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, Game 5, Game 6, Game 7.

[Via: TSN.ca]
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