Flyers clobber Penguins' streak, 8-2
Penguins goalie Dany Sabourin is unable to stop a shot by the Flyers' Joffrey Lupul for a first-period goal Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Lupul earned a hat trick by scoring two more goals against the Penguins.
Evgeni Malkin, left, and Petr Sykora celebrate after Sykora scored against the Flyers in the first period.
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PHILADELPHIA -- The game was over, but -- those 156 minutes' worth of penalties that had been assessed over the course of the evening aside -- the hostilities were just beginning.
First, Philadelphia coach John Stevens accused the Penguins of being totally undisciplined after they received 81 penalty minutes in the third period of the Flyers' 8-2 victory at the Wachovia Center last night.
When his Penguins counterpart, Michel Therrien, was informed of Stevens' charge, he launched a caustic retort, pointing out that the Flyers had dispatched their No. 1 power play while holding a five-goal lead in the third period.
And when Therrien's postgame session with reporters ended, Flyers knuckle-dragger Ben Eager (0 points, 60 penalty minutes), whom Therrien passed in a corridor outside the Penguins' locker room, said to him, "You're a joke."
Therrien offered a two-word comeback, only the second half of which -- "you" -- is suitable for public consumption.
Consider the rivalry re-ignited. Not that it had been particularly dormant before last evening.
"Everyone knows there's one here," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "But it seems like it's escalated each game."
The antics during and after the game largely overshadowed hat tricks by Flyers forwards R.J. Umberger and Joffrey Lupul, the first time two Philadelphia players scored three goals each in a game since 1985.
The loss cost the Penguins a shot at just the second 4-0 road trip in franchise history and ended their four-game winning streak. And while it was one of their most lopsided losses in a while, they weren't making an issue of the margin of defeat.
"We had a good road trip," said defenseman Ryan Whitney, who was involved in his first NHL fight. "Obviously, it didn't end the way we wanted it to."
The Flyers scored on three of 13 power-play chances, and spent much of the final period with the extra man. That led to Stevens' comments and the broadside Therrien fired back.
"Are we talking about the same team that has had five guys suspended this year?" Therrien said. "Is that the same team? It's a lack of respect, what [Stevens] did tonight.
"At 7-2, you don't send your best power play on the ice. Even [Flyers center] Daniel Briere didn't want to go on the ice. It's a lack of respect. ... You never put yourself in a position to show a lack of respect for the other team. This is exactly what he did tonight."
Asked if he thought Stevens tried to humiliate the Penguins, Therrien said, "Big time."
The game did not attract a capacity crowd -- quite a few rows near the top of the arena were empty -- but there was enough of a crowd to launch several vulgar chants at Crosby during the third period, at least one with the musical accompaniment of the Wachovia Center organist.
Penguins left winger Ryan Malone and Philadelphia defenseman Jason Smith ratcheted up the emotion with a spirited exchange of punches 20 seconds after the opening faceoff, and Lupul, who had gone 11 games without a goal, made it 1-0 at 1:11 and struck again at 3:44.
The Penguins countered with power-play goals by Whitney (12:39) and Petr Sykora (14:28) and were even at the intermission.
"We didn't even play our best and we were tied, so we were feeling good," Whitney said.
That changed quickly, though, as Philadelphia took control of the game with two goals by Umberger during a two-minute span in the second period. Philadelphia's Mike Knuble then eliminated any uncertainty about the outcome when he knocked a rebound behind Penguins goaltender Dany Sabourin during a power play with 9.9 seconds left in the period.
Ty Conklin, recalled from the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre after goalie Marc-Andre Fleury injured an ankle Thursday in Calgary, replaced Sabourin for the third period and gave up goals to Lupul, Braydon Coburn and Umberger to close out the scoring.
"You have to scratch the second half of the game," Crosby said. "It was just a mess."
One the Penguins can't dwell on, with Ottawa coming to Mellon Arena at 7:38 p.m. tomorrow.
"The next time we play [Philadelphia], it will be fresh in our minds," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "But the most important thing for the team is to erase it from our minds as quickly as possible. Don't let it carry over to Thursday."
First Published December 12, 2007 12:00 am