Saturday, October 28, 2006

Battle of Pennsylvania 06-07: Episode 2

It was said in jest by new Penguins PbP guy, Paul Steigerwald, that the year's slogan had turned from being an evolution to a revolution. And nothing could be finer than to come of age than to prove to their biggest and nastiest rival - the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Penguins played with confidence and energy that wasn't seen in Philadelphia in a long time. They knew they hadn't won in the Wachovia Center in a very long time. Starting out, this game looked like the Flyers had found some dignity (yea.. and hell will freeze over when that happens) as Mike Knuble scored early in the game. But after that, it was time for Crosby and the Penguins to take over. Sid Crosby single handedly kept the game just out of reach for the disorganized Flyers (see picture at right). Crosby's first goal of the night came 6 minutes into the 1st period and thus began the rout. Maxime Talbot, a cult Pittsburgh fan favorite, also got into the scoring tally to get credit for his first goal of the season since being called up from the AHL.

The Second Crosby goal achieved so much more than the growing swagger in the young team. It positively felt great to hear all the jeers from the Philly fans and the goal caused new coach John Stevens to pull Niittymaki for Rob Esche. That didn't help much because the Penguins goals still came. Crosby was able to steal the puck from his nemesis defenceman, Derian Hatcher, and hit the back of the net for his first career hat trick. Since it came on enemy ice, the booing was loud by the haters in orange and black.

Malkin had a little showing of his own nearing the end of the second period. He threw down a wrist shot from the goal line that trickled through Esche's leg pads and trickled off behind him into the net. Malkin has scored in every game he has played thusfar and looks for a streak that hopefully will see inked into the NHL record books.

As for the Flyers, their frustrations were magnified as several of the key role players on the Penguins found the back of the net as well. Former Flyer, Mark Recchi was able to slap a shot into the net that seemed large enough to drive a truck through. He was later dwarfed by the stature of Staal and Malkin who assisted on the play in their congratulatory hugs. Third line centerman, Dominic Moore, got his first of the season by a fine pass by LeClair.

Tonight's win places the Penguins just out of reach atop the Atlantic Division despite NJ having played 2 more games on the seasonal campaign. Philadelphia is really miserable with only collecting 5 points in 9 games with signs that it is only going to get worse before it gets any better.
"I'd fire my mother if I had to."

Flyers owner Ed Snider when asked by TSN's Michael Landsberg on Off The Record if he would fire Wayne Gretzky if he was the coach of his team and they were struggling.
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