PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers wrote another chapter in the book of their heated rivalry Sunday afternoon.
Five unanswered goals by the Flyers propelled them to a 6-4 win over the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center, but the game boiled over with about one minute left in regulation.
Tensions escalated when Brayden Schenn cross-checked Sidney Crosby from behind with just under 5 minutes left in the third period. The penalty was wiped off the board after a review of a shot by Steve Sullivan was counted as a goal.
Understandably, Pittsburgh was not happy with Schenn’s actions.
After an empty net goal by Jakub Voracek extended the lead to 6-3, the Penguins put their fourth line on the ice. Joe Vitale caught Danny Briere with his head down in the neutral zone and delivered a punishing, but clean hit.
The hit set off an old-fashioned donnybrook at center ice, where even Penguins’ assistant coach Tony Granato and Flyers’ bench boss Peter Laviolette engaged in a heated conversation in front of NBC’s Pierre McGuire between the benches.
The exchange resulted in both coaches being tossed from the game along with Arron Asham and Zach Rinaldo.
Somehow, the Penguins ended up with a late power play and Chris Kunitz cashed in to cap the scoring in the game at 6-4.
In the first period, the Penguins came out flying and raced to a 2-0 lead on goals by Sullivan and James Neal.
The quick started prompted Philadelphia to take their timeout and they came out with a renewed focus and began to turn the tide in the game.
Claude Giroux’s wrist short through traffic had eyes and barely found its way through Marc-Andre Fleury’s legs to cut the lead to 2-1.
In the second period, Max Talbot struck on a backdoor deflection at 1:29 to even the score at 2-2. It would be the only goal scored in the period.
In the third period, Wayne Simmonds scored on the power play at 2:35, while Voracek scored on a mini-breakaway at 6:37 to pull away from the Pens.
Marc-Andre Bourdon would get the eventual game-winning goal after his shot off a faceoff grazed off of Zbynek Michalek and behind Fleury at 13:15.
Kris Letang returned to the lineup after missing the last three games.
However, despite his presence in the lineup, the Penguins continued to utilize a top power play unit with five forwards for the first two periods.
The Flyers had several shorthanded chances with that formation on the ice, but Letang returned to the top unit to start a power play in the third period.
Pittsburgh will be back in action Tuesday night when they go on the road to take on the Boston Bruins in their final road game of the regular season.
You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice