Penguins face penalties from NHL after Game 3 loss to Flyers
PHILADELPHIA — The Penguins haven`t looked like themselves for most of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers. They should look different Wednesday night in Game 4 while attempting to avoid a stunning sweep.
Fourth-line wingers Aaron Asham and Craig Adams face automatic suspensions — pending NHL review — for fouls committed during an 8-4 loss to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
Asham received a match penalty late in the first period for his cross-check/punch combo to Flyers center Brayden Schenn. Adams was tagged with an instigator to go with his fighting major against Flyers winger Scott Hartnell with under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Asham will not play Wednesday, but Adams could have his suspension revoked if NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan deems he was not trying to 'send a message,' a league source said Sunday night.
The Penguins were penalized 20 times for 89 minutes.
Right winger James Neal`s perceived head-hunting pursuits of centers Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier dismayed many Flyers.
'I don`t think they are calculated, but there are some guys running around that don`t usually do that,' defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. 'I don`t know why you would change your game for the playoffs. I don`t like that.'
Coincidentally, the first fight-filled game of this series was played on a day when the NHL issued suspensions to New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin (four games) and Ottawa Senators forward Matt Carkner (one game) for fouls committed Saturday night.
Game 3 featured 77 combined hits, 32 total blocked shots and 148 cumulative penalty minutes.
'Yeah, it was a lot of fighting,' Flyers right winger Jaromir Jagr said, adding that Neal`s hit on Couturier was 'a dirty play.'
Neal said he 'didn`t even mean to hit' Couturier, but Flyers coach Peter Laviolette lamented that Couturier, a rookie at 19, needed assistance to the dressing room.
'It`s hard to watch,' Laviolette said. 'We`ve got a young player on the ice who`s playing some great hockey. So it`s difficult to see that.'
Even Sidney Crosby — who missed time dating to January 2011 because of concussion symptoms — dropped the gloves with Giroux.
'There is more than one team getting in those things, so you can make a story all you want about us getting frustrated,' he said. 'We are playing playoff hockey, and they are doing the same things we are. It`s intense and you can say that we got frustrated, but we didn`t.'