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I'd be more accurate doing a fight recap than a game recap.
The Flyers destroyed the Penguins tonight by the score of 8-2. Both Joffrey Lupul and R.J Umberger were in competition with one another to see who could get the most points. Each got a hat trick on the night for the first time since 1985 that the Flyers have had two hat tricks in one game. Lupul also had six points on the night (3-3), while Umberger had only a pathetic five (3-2).
Things were looking alright after the first. Both teams went into the second period tied at two thanks to a power play goal from Whitney and a quick notch from Sykora. but then it all went to hell with six unanswered goals from the Flyers. Sabourin was pulled after the second period, having given up five goals on twenty-five shots. Thus marked the first NHL appearance from Ty Conklin, recently promoted from the Wilkes-Barre squad.
Aside from a sprawling save to prevent the ninth goal of the game, Conklin didn't exactly save the day or make it look any prettier. Conklin allowed three goals on fifteen shots before the much anticipated final horn.
At least the game remained entertaining though. A nice solid rivaly was fueled by 156 penalty minutes distributed between the two, 98 of which belonged to the Pens.
As predicted, Jason Smith didn't go more than a minute into the game before dropping his gloves with Ryan Malone. In the last meeting between the two teams back in November, Malone was ejected when fighting with Smith in the final minute of the third after a missed slashing call on Crosby. Tonight Malone seemed to have the upper hand in the fight, delivering some solid rights to Smiths face. The fight came to its end when Smith more or less dove on top of Malone to end the suffering.
Even Sidney Crosby almost got into a fight with Flyers goaltender Marty Biron when Crosby, accidental or not, tripped up Biron on a play behind the net. Neither player was penalized, but Biron was edging on Crosby to come back to the crease.
Ben Eager and Gary Roberts also tied up after Eager delivered an elbow to Georges Laraque's head that went unnoticed by the refs. Laraque, of course, was penalized for retaliation. Roberts dominated Eager with left after left to the face. Both were sent to the box, where Laraque and Eager continued to exchange some choice words. Neither would throw the gloves later in the game.
Ryan Whitney fought tonight, just as he did in the Pens' last visit to Philly. Tonight his foe of choice was Jeff Carter. Carter would later be seen in the penalty box with blood dripping from a cut above his nose before being sent off to the dressing room.
Colby Armstrong and Scott Hartnell went at it, although it was more of a scuff than a fight. Armstrong suffered self-inflicted facial lacerations earlier in the night when he missed a hit and went flying into the boards face first. To his defense, falling during the fight prevented further injury. Both players were ejected from the game.
Georges Laraque received a game misconduct for running into Marty Biron on what looked like an obvious attempt to take the goalie out. Shortly after, Evgeni Malkin would also get a game misconduct for fighting with the Flyers' Tolpeko.
The final game misconduct came to Jarkko Ruutu with one minute remaining in the game, as the Penguins more or less had only a dozen players or so on the bench. Therrien opted to sit Crosby in prevention of any head hunting that would ensue should he step back on the ice.
All in all, 10 combined goals on the game, 34 called penalties, 98 penalty minutes for the Penguins, 58 penalty minutes for the Flyers, five fights, eight ejections...and a partridge in a pair tree.
If one good thing can come from this game it's the Penguins ability to focus on using this game as a team building exercise. After all, after the first fight, all of the other ones came from retaliation and standing up for one another.
In the end the Penguins bullied the bullies, winning practically every fight on the game. Winning the game itself; well, not exactly.