The Penguins-Flyers rivalry is as hot as ever.
The Sunday afternoon contest at CONSOL Energy Center had all the trademarks of a Penguins-Flyers affair: great action; physical play; brilliant offense; and a few post-whistle battles, in what could be a preview for the Stanley Cup playoffs opening round.
Jakub Voracek scored two goals and an assist and Claude Giroux chipped in three points (1G-2A) as the Flyers continued their undefeated streak (5-0) in the Penguins’ new arena with a 6-4 victory. Steve Sullivan
scored two goals for Pittsburgh with Chris Kunitz
and James Neal
“We did a lot of really good things. I think the big thing for us is we made some big mistakes that hurt us,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “I think for the most part we generated some really good chances, but with the mistakes that we made, we can’t afford to make those and expect to win games. We’ve got to limit those, but on the flip side I think we did some pretty good things as well and got a lot of shots.”
The Penguins aren't concerned about the loss.
"No, It’s just one game," defenseman Brooks Orpik
said. "Were you concerned after Friday's (win against Buffalo)? You were excited after Friday and concerned now. It’s a good hockey team we lost to. We can play better."
There was no love lost between the two intra-state rivals. And that was evident at the conclusion of the game.
In the final minute of the third period, forward Joe Vitale
leveled Danny Briere coming through the neutral zone with a clean hit that sent the Flyer sprawling to the ice.
The Flyers took exception to the hit and three fights broke out as all 10 players came together.
“I just saw ‘Joey V’ make that hit there,” Crosby said. “I’m sure their coach doesn’t like seeing a top player on their team get hit like that, but it’s a clean hit. … I know he’s angry and he showed that, but the game’s 60 minutes. Joey did the right thing by finishing his hit there and he didn’t like it.”
The intensity even boiled over into the benches as Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato exchanged some words.
“There was 1:10 left or so on the clock. We went out and played,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “They took exception to a hit. The 10 guys joined together near center ice. From what I can gather, their coach didn’t like the hit and took a stick and broke it over the glass. That stick ended up on our bench. That’s pretty much what ensued.”
The Pens received some good news on the injury front with the return of blueliner Kris Letang
Letang, who missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, skated a game-high 27:58 minutes and recorded two shots, three hits and three blocked shots.
“I felt pretty good,” Letang said. “Obviously the loss, it kind of ruined the comeback. But I felt pretty good out there. I worked out. I got treated and I skated on my own.
“I told them I was ready to go.”
Author: Sam Kasan