By Tim Panaccio,
From the very beginning of this Eastern Conference quarter-final series between the Penguins and Flyers, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma emphasized he didn't want games to become brawls.
Sunday's 8-4 Flyers win was pretty much just that with 158 penalty minutes and his team totally becoming unglued.
The Flyers lead the series, 3-zip.
Offensively, they had three power play goals and also scored their third short-handed goal of the series. Danny Briere and Max Talbot each scored twice.
Yet it's not the offence people are going to remember this game for, it's the fighting, the scrums, the penalties ...
Arron Asham will be most likely be suspended Monday for the rest of the series for punching Brayden Schenn from behind when he was down on the ice.
James Neal could get something for his blind hit that could have seriously injured Sean Couturier.
And Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux, two of the top skill players it the league, dropped gloves.
Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen fighting? Both getting ejected.
"Are you talking about the number of penalties and scrums? We haven't seen a lot of that in Game 1 and in Game 2," Bylsma said. "We obviously saw it a lot [today]. The way the game was called there was a lot of extracurricular activity during and after the plays.
"That's an area of the game we want to stay away from. We don't want to be involved in those situations against this team. We want to stay whistle to whistle and minimize the amount of penalties in the game not create those scenarios. Emotions are high and you saw it numerous times tonight that spilled over for both teams."
The Penguins instigated most of the scrums and fights. Their frustration in allowing the Flyers and franchise record 20 goals so far spilled over.
"There are some guys running around that usually don't do that and I don't know why you change your game for the playoffs - I don't like that," Kimmo Timonen said.
"If they think they're going to win that way, go ahead, do it.:
Then you had a crafty 40-goal guy like Neal trying to take out Couturier with a very dirty hit that could have easily concussed the Flyer rookie.
"It's hard to watch," Flyer coach Peter Laviolette said. "We have a young player on the ice playing some great hockey so, it's difficult to see that."
Max Talbot didn't want to believe what he saw on Sunday.
"I remember at the start of the series, Scotty Hartnell talking about a blood bath and stuff like that, but I didn't want to believe that," Talbot said.
Couturier has outright owned Evgeni Malkin, who still doesn't have a goal in the series.
"I really don't know what his intentions were," Couturier said. "It's obviously frustrating to get hit like that. I never saw him coming."
Neal's defence was weak.
"I'm flying through the neutral zone, I'm regrouping," he said. "I didn't even mean to hit him. I don't even know if the puck was at his feet or not or where it was.
"I think we just chipped it. I let up as much as I could and it is what it is."
Crosby said he had no choice but to try and do something out there with his team down, 3-1.
"I don't have to sit here and explain why I pushed a glove away they are doing a lot of things out there too," he said of flipping Jake Voracek's glove which started a fracas.
"You know what, we don't like each other. Was I going to sit there and pick up his glove? What was I supposed to do?"
The Flyers bring out the worse in the Flyers, no?
"You know there is more than one team getting in those things so you can make a story all you want about us getting frustrated," Crosby said.
"We are playing playoff hockey and they are doing the same things we are. It's intense and you can say that we got frustrated but we didn't. We took some penalties didn't kill them and got within one and didn't get back in the game.
"We know what we have to do we just need to do it more consistently. Everyone knows the way we need to play and no one is in here pointing fingers. The fact of the matter is we have made mistakes that have hurt us."
Quote of the day
Laviolette on Giroux and Crosby fighting: "It was great. In the end, that's playoff hockey, isn't it? A couple of the best players in the world dropping the gloves and going at it."
Marc-Andre Fleury has given up 17 goals. He got yanked to start the third period with the Pens behind, 6-4.
"Yes, I thought about doing it [earlier], but some of the power play and penalty kill situations precluded that didn't allow me to do that," Byslma said, adding that Fleury will start Game 4.
The last time the Flyers swept a playoff series was 1995 when they beat the Rangers in four straight in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Tim Panaccio reports on the Flyers for CSNPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @tpanotchCSN
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