PHILADELPHIA — Fists were flying faster than shots on goal. Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux even became knotted in the pushing, pulling and shoving, superstars mixing it up to prove which team was the baddest on the ice and the scoreboard.
The Penguins and Flyers talked trash, laid the smack down and played one wildly entertaining game Sunday. The result was still the same. The Flyers rallied from another early deficit for an 8-4 Game 3 victory that placed them on the brink of a sweep of the team many thought would win the Stanley Cup.
The goals might be hard to find on a highlight reel. This one was all about the brawls. In the first period, three players were tossed — each team's top defenseman, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang and Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen, and Penguins forward Arron Asham — and Crosby squared off against Giroux.
"In the end, that's really playoff hockey," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of that bout.
As the game wound down, a hit by Pittsburgh's James Neal started another round of brawls that led to the ejections of Neal, the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds and Penguins' Craig Adams. The teams combined for 158 penalty minutes.
Said Crosby, "You can make a story all you want about us getting frustrated. They're doing the same things we are. It's intense. … I don't like any guy on their team there."
panthers 4, devils 2: Stephen Weiss got the first two playoff goals of his 10-year career and the host Panthers got their first playoff win in nearly 15 years to even the series at a game apiece.
predators 3, red wings 2: Nashville defenseman Shea Weber turned boos into silence with a goal early in the first and the visiting Predators held on to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Weber was jeered every time he touched the puck for smashing Henrik Zetterberg's face into glass at the end of Game 1.
kings-canucks: With Vancouver trailing 2-0 in the West series, coach Alain Vigneault replaced Roberto Luongo in goal with Cory Schneider for the late Game 3. Vigneault said he was satisfied with Luongo but wanted to change things up.
playoff news: Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games for elbowing Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson in the head in Game 2 of their series Saturday. Alfredsson left the game and didn't return. Coach Paul MacLean said he was feeling good Sunday and would be further evaluated. The Rangers said they accepted the penalty but "are thoroughly perplexed" by the ruling's inconsistency with others this season. … Senators defenseman Matt Carkner was suspended for Game 3 tonight for jumping on the Rangers' Brian Boyle and punching him in Game 2.
lightning ahl team extends streak: Norfolk ended its regular season by extending its league winning streak to 28 with a 4-2 win over host Adirondack. League MVP and rookie of the year Cory Conacher had a hat trick.
First Period—1, Pitts, Staal 1 (Kunitz, Michalek), 3:52. 2, Phila, Talbot 2 (Giroux, Carle), 6:44 (sh). 3, Phila, Briere 3 (Hartnell, Jagr), 8:19 (pp). 4, Phila, Briere 4 (Simmonds, Schenn), 11:45. 5, Pitts, Neal 1 (Niskanen, Malkin), 15:17. 6, Phila, Read 1 (Briere), 15:40. Penalties—Engelland, Pit (roughing), 2:39; Rinaldo, Phi (roughing), 2:39; Voracek, Phi (high-stick), 5:14; Niskanen, Pit (cross-check, roughing), 6:44; Giroux, Phi (roughing), 6:44; Letang, Pit (cross-check), 7:24; Sullivan, Pit (rough), 12:02; Crosby, Pit, major (fight), 12:02; Letang, Pit, major-game misconduct (fight), 12:02; Timonen, Phi, minor-major-game misconduct (slash, fight), 12:02; Giroux, Phi, major (fight), 12:02; Voracek, Phi (rough), 12:02; Asham, Pit match penalty (match—deliberate injury), 14:15; Schenn, Phi (charge), 14:15.
Second Period—7, Pitts, Neal 2 (Malkin, Crosby), 10:31 (pp). 8, Phila, Read 2 (Jagr, Schenn), 14:18 (pp). 9, Pitts, Staal 2 (Neal, Kunitz), 15:40. 10, Phila, Simmonds 1 (Coburn), 19:14 (pp). Penalties—Staal, Pit (hooking), :35; Grossmann, Phi (kneeing), 9:13; Kunitz, Pit (tripping), 12:30; Kunitz, Pit (slashing), 17:22.
Third Period—11, Phila, Giroux 4 (Jagr), :27. 12, Phila, Talbot 3 (Voracek, Coburn), 17:14 (pp). Penalties—Adams, Pit, minor-major-game misconduct (instigator, fighting), 15:18; Kunitz, Pit (roughing), 15:18; Engelland, Pit, misconduct, 15:18; Crosby, Pit (roughing), 15:18; Neal, Pit, minor-misconduct (charging), 15:18; Hartnell, Phi, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 15:18; Voracek, Phi (roughing), 15:18; Simmonds, Phi, minor-misconduct (roughing), 15:18; Rinaldo, Phi (cross-checking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:38. Shots—Pitts 12-12-11—35. Phila 19-9-6—34. PP opps—Pitts 1 of 6; Phila 4 of 6. Goalies—Pitts, Fleury 0-3-0 (28 shots-22 saves), Johnson (0:00 third, 6-4). Phila, Bryzgalov 3-0-0 (35-31).
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First Period—1, Nash, Weber 2 (A.Kostitsyn, Radulov), 2:48 (pp). Penalties—Miller, Det (goalie interfere), 1:35; Kronwall, Det (hook), 8:56; Legwand, Nas (trip), 12:53.
Second Period—2, Nash, Klein 1 (Erat), 3:50. 3, Det, Datsyuk 1, 15:03. Penalties—Tootoo, Nas (roughing), 1:21; Franzen, Det (slashing), 8:06; Quincey, Det (cross-checking), 9:43; Legwand, Nas, served by Hornqvist (interference), 14:33; Franzen, Det (slashing), 14:33; Fisher, Nas (roughing), 17:46; Bertuzzi, Det (roughing), 17:46; S.Kostitsyn, Nas (high-stick), 19:49.
Third Period—4, Nash, S.Kostitsyn 1 (Fisher, Klein), 16:30. 5, Det, Zetterberg 2 (Datsyuk, Kronwall), 19:06 (pp). Penalties—Legwand, Nas (holding), 18:23. Shots—Nash 9-9-4—22. Det 11-13-19—43. PP opps—Nash 1 of 4; Det 1 of 4. Goalies—Nash, Rinne 2-1-0 (43 shots-41 saves). Det, Howard 1-2-0 (22-19).
First Period—1, Fla, Weiss 1 (Samuelsson, Versteeg), :23 (pp). Penalties—Greene, NJ (tripping), :11; Kulikov, Fla (delay of game), 7:38; Ponikarovsky, NJ (high-sticking), 19:43; Clarkson, NJ (charging), 19:43.
Second—2, Fla, Weiss 2 (Goc, Garrison), 1:12 (pp). 3, Fla, Goc 1 (Campbell, Bergenheim), 14:39. Penalties—Samuelsson, Fla (hook), 2:07; Carter, NJ (hook), 7:48.
Third Period—4, NJ, Zajac 1 (Greene, Ponikarovsky), :48. 5, NJ, Kovalchuk 1 (Henrique), 2:02. 6, Fla, Fleischmann 1, 19:59 (en). Penalties—None. Shots—NJ 4-9-12—25. Fla 3-11-10—24. PP opps—NJ 0 of 2; Fla 2 of 4. Goalies—NJ, Brodeur 1-1-0 (23 shots-20 saves). Fla, Theodore 1-1-0 (25-23).