Sunday, April 06, 2008

Battle of Pennsylvania 07-08: Game 8

Even though the Penguins already had a playoff position, both the Penguins and Flyers were still deciding the final resolution to the season. Would the Flyers face the Penguins yet again or would the Penguins eye a revenge match up destiny against the Senators?

If the Flyers lost this game, they would give the Conference title to the Penguins and play them in the first round as the 8th seed. But if the Penguins lost, the Penguins would sit at #2 and play the Ottawa Senators.

Credit to where it is due, the Flyers game intro in the Wachovia Arena was very impressive as FSN-Pitt captured the end of "God Bless America" and the light show that followed. That was all it took for me to get amped up for this rivalry game! I would find out that my excitement would be short lived.

The Penguins decided to bench Crosby, anticipating that the Flyers would intentionally take liberties towards hurting him for a future possible playoff match up. They also had concerns for Fleury who would play in net. With Crosby getting a rest, we did get to see the return of thee bad ass- GARY ROBERTS!

The first period saw the Flyers look like they were going to play nice and actually try to win the game. Were they scared at a Penguins first round series? Penguins fans expected the Flyers to play a typical Flyers "Broad Street Bullies" game, but were biding their time until they were provoked. The first period ended with no score and consequently almost put me to sleep. Come on, guys! Last game of the season! Make the highlight tapes.

Second period saw more physicality and the Flyers goalie Martin Biron was playing opposite to what he was in game 7. He was shutting down the Penguins at every shot with the Penguins helping the cause by looking like crap on the Power Play. Scottie Upshall scored in the second period, but no panic could be seen on the Penguins faces. It only makes the comeback win more dramatic. We got 'em right where we want 'em.
“It wasn’t quite a playoff atmosphere game and it kind of felt like each team was feeling each other out,” Penguins forward Jordan Staal said. “We really should have come out stronger at first and we would’ve took the game.”
Third period was the last 20 mintues for this regular season run. I would hate to see the game as a fan knowing that it would be the last time to see action until next year. The Penguins tried harder and Ruutu agitated even more. Could this be a future playoff matchup? Would the Battle of PA extend to a playoff recap? With nothing really to lose, the Penguins pulled Fleury in the waining minute of the third. The Flyers were gunning to add the insurance goal and breathe a sigh of relief that they were not destined to go out the first round of the playoffs. Mikey Knuble, a familiar Penguin-killer slammed home the EN goal to give the Flyers a 2-0 victory.

The Flyers win the Battle of PA for this year 5 games to 3 in the regular season series.

[Via Yahoo! Sports]
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