Pens coach cries foul on Flyers

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007

PHILADELPHIA -- Coach Michel Therrien said the Penguins left "a lot of emotion" in western Canada, where they won the initial three games of a four-contest road trip.

That trip wrapped at Wachovia Center on Tuesday with a nasty, fight-marred 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Therrien left nothing to doubt concerning his feelings about Philadelphia coach John Stevens' accusation the Penguins were totally undisciplined in the third period, when they were assessed 81 minutes of penalties, including three fighting majors and five misconducts.

"Are we talking about the same team that got five guys suspended this year?" Therrien said. "It is a lack of respect what (Stevens) did tonight. At 7-2 you don't send your best power play on the ice. Even Daniel Briere didn't want to go on the ice. It is a lack of respect.

"We got criticized at times last year because we didn't want to put our best player on the ice because we didn't want to humiliate the other team. Never put yourself in position to show a lack of respect on the other team and lack of respect on the players. This is exactly what he did tonight."

Therrien stopped talking to reporters after that -- though he did fire an expletive at Philadelphia left wing Ben Eager, who stood outside the Penguins' dressing room and shouted "you're a joke" in the direction of Therrien.

The Penguins are 0-3-0 against the Flyers this season after sweeping eight games from them in 2006-07.

Joffrey Lupul and Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger each tallied hat tricks for the Flyers last night. They combined for 11 points.

Any other night, that kind of offensive outburst might have been the story.

Or maybe the story would have been the end of the Penguins' season-high four-game winning streak.

Perhaps there would be talk of the Penguins' continued inability to win against Eastern conference clubs, against whom they are 8-12-2, or in the Atlantic Division, in which they are 3-8-1.

But last night started with a fight between Ryan Malone and Philadelphia's Jason Smith only 20 seconds into the game, and it ended with the teams combining for 156 penalty minutes on 34 fouls.

Pittsburgh was charged with 23 penalties for 98 minutes. Malone, left wing Gary Roberts, defenseman Ryan Whitney and right wing Colby Armstrong were assessed fighting majors. Whitney, Armstrong, center Evgeni Malkin and left wing Jarkko Ruutu were charged with misconduct penalties.

Philadelphia was assessed 11 penalties for 58 minutes.

The Flyers led, 2-0, before the Penguins rallied to tie the score by first intermission. However, Philadelphia led, 5-2, heading into the third period, when it scored three power-play goals with its first man-advantage unit.

"The second half of the game was just a mess," captain Sidney Crosby said. "It was just getting out of hand."

Crosby recorded two points, assisting on goals by Whitney and left wing Petr Sykora. He was named the game's No. 3 star -- presumably so a rabid Philadelphia crowd could chant obscenities at him one last time.

Malone said the game would stick with the Penguins, who have five remaining regular-season meetings with the Flyers.

"I hope so," Malone said. "We stuck together as a team out there, and that is all you can ask for.

"It was just one of those games. But that's the rivalry."

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