Pittsburgh -- Ok, so maybe it was a pretty meaningless game after all.
After last week's end-of-game fireworks, and any "messages" that may have wanted to be sent prior to the first-round playoff matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the two teams engaged in a relatively calm game that ended with the host Pens winning, 4-2, on Saturday at the Consol Energy Center. After the explosive finish to last week's mash-up between the Atlantic Division rivals, expectations were high for this week's rematch.
It didn't happen.
Sure, there was an early fight between Adirondack call-up Harry Zolnericzyk and last week's leading protagonist, Joe Vitale, but that was pretty much all of the extracurricular activities the boisterous Pittsburgh fans would see.
Three minutes after Vitale decisions "Harry Z," the Penguins Pascal Dupuis started the scoring with his 25th goal of the year, just 5:33 into the game. For Dupuis, the goal extended his point-scoring streak to 17 games, the longest in the NHL this year. The Flyers tied it up with a Brayden Schenn shot from point blank with just 52.9 seconds left in the first.
"Having the chance to play with Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier has been great," said former Pen Max Talbot. "I think the Penguins Flyers rivalry has been more interesting to me."
The Pens regained the lead in the second on a goal by Chris Kunitz, only to have the Flyers tie it once again, this time on a power-play goal by former Penguin Jaromir Jagr. Once again, however, Pittsburgh reclaimed the lead, this time on a nifty power-play score by Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins added to their lead less than two minutes later, when Evgeni Malkin netted his 50th of the year. Malkin is the ninth player in team history to score 50 or more goals in one season.
That ended the scoring. The only bit of excitement left was when the final horn sounded, and the Penguins finally -- finally -- beat the Flyers in Pittsburgh. The Flyers had won all five of the previous meetings between the two teams at the Consol Energy Center.
So, now it's on to the playoffs. Expect lots of fireworks.
NOTES: Attendance was announced at 18,616, the largest in the brief history of the Consol Energy Center. It was also the 251st consecutive sellout...Kunitz's goal was his 26th of the year, setting a new personal best for him....Pittsburgh's Jordan collected two assists, giving him a career hih of 50 points...Malkin finished the season with 109 0points to win the NHL scoring title....the Flyers Claude Giroux was scratched with a cold....
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