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Another tough loss to take. To the Flyers no less.
Conklin's 0-2-1 in his last three starts and the Pens are starting to show signs of undisciplined hockey. In this game alone the Pens took five penalties. Taking five may not seem like much, but when you're going up against the NHL's number one ranked power play, five power plays are five too many.
Much to the Pens' penalty killing abilities, they did manage to hold the Flyers' power play to a 20% conversion (1-5) on the night. Of course that one goal did come during a power play that should not have been.
With three seconds remaining in the second period and the score tied at 2, Georges Laraque took quite possibly one of the dumbest penalties to date. As the puck trickled along the boards to end the second, relatively out of play I might add, Georges shoved the Flyers' Steve Downie into the boards head first. The hit was pretty severe, to a point where Downie looked like he was taking a nap on the ice. If and when I find video, I'll be sure to post it up. NHL.com was sure to not include it in their game highlight reel. Instead, you just see that the Flyers have a 5:00 minutes unexplained power play.
Retribution?Perhaps...but if anything that would be the Senators' job, not the Pens'. Regardless, Laraque gets ousted from the game, rendering a 5:00 major to start the third. That is when the game really took a turn in the Flyers' advantage. Of course, the Pens managed to kill off a good portion of the penalty. The Flyers' fans, being as supportive as always, started to boo the team for their inability to convert on the play. Perhaps that negative hate-love sort of thing worked, because the Flyers scored to jump out to a 3-2 lead. Much to the surprise of fans, Steve Downie is back on the ice. His presence is short lived though, as both he and Ryan Stone throw down the mitts 5 minutes into the third. Downie pulled Stone's jersey over his head, ultimately sealing the fight for him. However the refs see that Downie didn't tie down his jersey to his equipment and he's given the boot from the game. Is there anything this guy won't do? http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20080123/capt.4359c6a8ee64477e856f7188c15f21f0.devils_flyers_hockey_park103.jpg
Downie eye gauges a Devil during Devils/Flyers game on Tuesday. I wouldn't expect Downie to be present at the next charitable function. In fact, I've yet to see a game where the announcers don't mention his father's death and his far-from-normal upbringing. Further emphasis as to why he is the way he is. The following Pens' goal was far from pretty, but it went in nonetheless. Ryan Whitney was credited with the goal, one that came from a rebound right in front of Biron. http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20080125/capt.fcb0f587ba37491382124bc501fa4507.penguins_flyers_hockey_park105.jpg On this shot, stopped by Biron, Jordan Staal continued to crash towards the net. In fact, his body lifted the net up off its moorings and nearly cost Ryan Whitney the tying goal. However, as the announcers mentioned during the review process, as long as the net isn't off its moorings when the puck crosses the line, it's a goal. Score tied 3-3. 34 seconds later, congestion builds in front of Conklin. Screened by players with no one staying at home to hold off the rush, Mike Knuble pushes it in for the game winner. 4-3 Flyers. Flyers lead the series 4-0. The next game is scheduled for February 10 back in Pittsburgh. Also, if I'm not mistaken, that's going to be aired on NBC for all the world to see. Well, not the world, but most of the United States and Canada. With that in mind, I'd expect a 'R' rating to mat itself in the upper left corner of the screen. Between Laraque and Downie, Laraque and Cote (who fought earlier in the night, but I don't want to step on Dunman's toes), Malone and Smith (no fight tonight), Stone and Downie and Downie vs the World, it's definitely set to be hectic. Top that off with four consecutive losses for the Pens in quite possibly one of the best rivalries in the NHL, and you got yourself a blood bath. A much needed All-Star break awaits now. Unfortunately the Pens go into it with a loss, but they also have the chance to rest up their ailing players.