Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Battle of Pennsylvania 08-09: Game 4

With stats that were thrown out during the beginning of the game that the Flyers had a 8 game winning streak at home and the Penguins have not won there in a long while, the Penguins might as well feel the pressure of a rivalry game. The Flyers were finally looking down on the Penguins from the divisional standings and they looked to stay in the drivers seat.

In the first period, Marc-Andre Fleury mishandled a puck from behind his net which then plopped in front of the unattended net. Mike Knuble, a regular Penguin-killer, had only but swoop on the Fleury mishap and poke it in for the games first goal. The play first started as a Flyers charged break out since being frustrated with a 1-2-2 trap that the Penguins strategies the morning of the game.

The work horse of the night was newly promotied Matt Cooke who almost looked like he was a natural fit playing wing with Geno and Sid. He out-hustled the Flyers and provoked a couple of penalties the whole game. Tyler Kennedy evened things out for the Penguins late in period 1 - a reward for firmly controlling the Flyers offensive flow. Also noted was the Goddard and Cote fight that was wrongly broken up when Goddard got a good punch that took Cote to the ground. Cote came looking for more, but the refs wouldn't let it continue.

The second period saw the Flyers continue to dump the puck back into the zone, only to have the Penguins defense sweep up the pucks for an attack in the other direction.
Pittsburgh played the first two periods more like the team that beat the Flyers in last year’s Eastern Conference finals than the one that came in stuck in an alarming slump that left them outside a playoff spot.
It really frustrated the Flyers fans into showing their true colors by being classless. Booing Crosby and chant "Crosby Sucks" only motivated Crosby more. He played on another level with Malkin as his wing while attaining his 250th career NHL point.

The third period saw the Penguins relax their trap defense just enough to allow the Flyers to bring things within 2 by Lupul scoring a goal. But when it was all over, the Flyers chose to get really undiciplined. The Flyers got caught with a "too many men" bench penalty as well as causing a 5-on-3 penalty kill with a minute and a half left. Vaananen took a shot at a Penguins head and Hartnell was soon caught slashing Orpik's body while skating by.

When the Penguins win, all is right with the world. Will this be the return of the Penguins to quality wins? The Penguins play rival Ovechkin and the Capitals tomorrow. Don't ya just love sports rivalries?
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