Kristin and I sat in the usual spot for pre-game and indulged in our usual chat. Our attempts to use wi-fi failed yet again.
Kristin shared her impressions from the Meet & Greet. Marty is a PR person's dream man. Niitty is quiet. There were several unusual pairings and quite a few predictable ones.
I surprised her by saying that I finally had something nice to say about Briere: I like his new haircut. ;p
The guys came out and we noticed that warm-ups were following a different pattern than usual, which prompted immediate concern on both our parts. Is a Battle of Pennsylvania showdown following a Devils blow-out really the time to change this? We had our doubts.
1. I did not buy into the hype that the Pens would be easier to beat without Cindy. Yes, he's good, but please do not forget about the following individuals who would still be on the ice: Malkin, Malone, Whitney, Laraque, and Conklin.
2. My eyes were drawn frequently to the Habs-Devils score on the board, for obvious reasons. I had a minor bout of heart failure until their third period.
Question: Why is it that the refs' names do not appear on the jumbotron?
No lie, it was flatter than two-day old, uncorked champagne.
There was a little bit of a spark during the Cote v. Laraque bout. The secret of Riley's left is not unknown, so Georges made certain to tie it up from the out-set.
Umby netted a nice one (assisted by Gator and Tiny!Briere). Marty had a nice save on Malone.
Malkin tallied one late in the first because all the Flyers seemed to take a five-minute snoozer in our zone. Even a little D would have gone a looooooong way.
Downie pulled his good choir boy act during the first period, keeping fairly cool in spite of some instigating. I was quite surprised by how long it lasted.
Hey refs! Letang had already earned two or three trips to the sin bin before you finally called that boarding penalty. Perhaps you could benefit from some Lasik, yes?
I was still on a little happy fest from Sami's goal in the Ottawa game. So imagine my giddiness when Jones scored one! (Thanks Hartsie and Umby for the help on that one.)
I don't have much to say about Sykora's goal. It will look nice on the highlight reels.
One of my worst fears occurred in the second period. Ever since that first 'Canes game where I truly realized how, er, imposing Hatch can be at full-tilt going for the puck at the goal-mouth, I've been sort of concerned for the well-being of opposing goalies.
Well, Hatch barreled into Conks. Yikes! I'm glad I was in 212 and not 119.
Progressing to Laraque's hit on Downie...because I just have to go there. Anyone who's been reading here all along knows my feelings about Downie and his suspension. If you don't, used the archives or labels to find out.
Dear Georges Laraque,
If you were going to hit someone that way, honestly, it should have been Randy Jones, but only after he (a) looked right at you, (b) moved another pace closer to the boards, (c) put his head down and (d) gave you his back again.
That being said, and in light of the rules and guidelines that supposedly apply to all NHL teams and players, you cannot hit someone that way...even if it's Steve Downie. You deserved the five-minute major and the ten-minute game misconduct. You also deserve a suspension for not having learned the lesson from the examples of others.
My prediction: Colin Campbell should trot out another 20-30 games suspension for that one, but he won't because the perpetrator wasn't wearing Halloween colors.
Riley: Please learn to go to the dressing room when the horn sounds. You may be the reason we don't see a suspension for Laraque.
Here are the high- and low-lights.
Vandermeer scored a goal, with Umby and Hartsie on the assists. (I guess he didn't want Randy to be the only Flyers defenseman notching one for the night?)
I was completely underwhelmed by our response to the hit on Downie. I expected some of Johnny's oft-mentioned "urgency" to create more scoring chances. Instead, the guys penalty-killed our five-minute power play. The Pens didn't need to do anything but sit back and wait.
The refs helped Whitney score a SH goal by not calling goalie interference on Staal. Sure, the net wasn't off the moorings when the puck entered it, but forget about the puck! Marty - or any other goalie - cannot make a save when Staal forcibly sits him down inside the net.
Knuble netted the game-winner, with a little help from his friends Cartsie and Coby.
The 4-3 score was something I and my Flyers could share with Four Habs Fans and their Canadiens. Perhaps we can share frustration with our team's tendencies towards passive-aggressive displays, too? Could this be the start of newer and friendlier relations between Canadian and US NHL hockey teams' fans?
Get real! They're in the Eastern Conference.
FHF: The gloves are off in preparation for our Feb. 16 and 17 MTL-PHL showdowns! ;)