POST GAME 10-08-09, PENGUINS 5, FLYERS 4
I know, I know, you just didn't want the first loss to come against the hated Penguins. Well, unfortunately it did, but when you hand Pittsburgh four of the five goals the way the Flyers did tonight, you really can't expect to win, can you?
We'll get into the game in a bit, including three stars and some tidbits and stats, but the most pressing issue postgame came from the Pittsburgh locker room.
That's where Pens' defenseman Kris Letang was accusing Scott Hartnell of biting him on the hand.
Didn't we go down this road two years ago in New Jersey when Travis Zajac accused Derian Hatcher of the same thing?
While I don't think Hatcher was guilty, I feel the jury has to remain out on Hartnell until we have more information.
Here's the transcripts of interviews with both Letang and Hartnell:
"My answer is going to be ask him. He knows what he did. Go ask Hartnell."
Does this anger you?
"It sets up the whole season. We have (five) more games to play against the and we know they’re about doing stupid things like that at the end of the game."
Has this ever happened before?
"It’s a first for me. I want to be ceratin you go ask him."
Does this surprise you?
“They try to intimidate us after the whistle with scrums and things like that, but our game isn’t playing after the whistle... We play a north-south game, and if they want to come after us after the whistle we’ve got to just walk away.”
Did you bite him?
"He had his hands in my face, doing the face wash and we were rolling around. I can't say what happened."
Has anyone ever accused you of biting?
A further explanation?
"He went after Richards who was driving the net and I went after him obviously. A couple of other fights broke out and we were rolling around on the ice there."
So there was no biting?
"(Laughs) No. Well, there was no blood anyways."
Do you think the league will contact you about a suspension?
"No. I don't know what the rules are. I have no idea. We'll see what happens."
Does it surprise you that he was so adamant that you did it?
"I don't know what happened. I know he went to the bench and I saw Pronger with Kunitz so I jumped over there. I was out there for two minutes so I don't know what really happened."
Onto the game:
My Three Stars:
1. Marc-Andre Fleury - Yeah, he gave up four goals, but he was sensational early in the game and kept Pittsburgh in it. He finished with 30 saves and was truly the difference in the contest.
2. Danny Briere - Two goals and some good jump in the legs of Briere, who is poised to have a nice bounce back season. Yeah, he was a minus-1, but that's because he happened to be on the ice for two goals that were caused by turnovers by teammates. Not his fault.
3. Jeff Carter - Can't knock a guy who has a four point night - even if he was directly responsible for one of Pittsburgh's goals. Offensively, he was everywhere - his line with Briere and Hartnell has been a really good combination thus far.
DID YOU KNOW:
-Despite their first loss of the season, both Jeff (2G,2A) and Mike Richards (2A) extended their scoring streak to four straight games… Carter now has seven points (4G,3A) in his streak, while Richards also has seven points (5G,2A).
-The last time Carter posted four points in one night was April 3, 2009 vs. Toronto (3G,1A).
-Danny Briere had two goals in tonight’s game, marking his first multi-goal game since March 20, 2009 vs. Buffalo… Briere’s two goals also give him 26 career points (9G,17A) in 29 career games against Pittsburgh… Briere’s first goal of the night was also his 100th point as a Flyer.
-The Flyers have scored 10 of their 17 goals on the season in the second period, and have outscored their opponent 10 to 5 in the second frame.
-Defenseman Matt Carle now has points in three straight games, recording seven points (1G,6A) in that span. His seven points lead all NHL defensemen.
-Defensemen Kimmo Timonen (1G,4A) and Chris Pronger (4A) also have recorded points in three straight games.
-The Flyers scored two of their four goals on the power play in tonight’s game, and have now gone 5-for-16 (31.3%) in the last two contests.
That's all the good news. Now how about this?
-Sidney Crosby won 21-of-24 faceoffs (88 percent) mostly abusing Richards (5-of-17, 29 percent).
-Simon Gagne, who has been very quiet in the first four games, lost the puck off hs stick on a breakaway.
-The Flyers are 10-20-4 against Pittsburgh since John Stevens took over as coach, his worst record against any other Eastern Conference foe.
-Crosby was held without a point against the Flyers for just the third time in 27 regular season games. In the other 24 games though, Crosby has 20 goals and 26 assists in 46 points.
Analysis: Too many turnovers. Too sloppy in their own end. Briere had it right. He said there are times when the Flyers are "brain dead" on the ice. They have a mental block against Pittsburgh and no matter how much they win during this regular season, they will still play second fiddle to the Pens until they find a way to beat them in the playoffs.
Off day for me tomorrow, but I'll be back with more on the Flyers Saturday when they host Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, Bobby Ryan and Anaheim. As a side note, it'll be the first game here for Ryan, a native of Cherry Hill, NJ.