If you go around and ask any Pittsburgh Penguins fan what was their favorite moment in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs was, besides winning the Cup, most fans will tell you the same moment. That moment was during the Penguins’ Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. In that game, the Penguins were winning the series 3-2, but were down. Then, Penguins’ forward Max Talbot got into a fight with Flyers’ forward Daniel Carcillo. When the fight was over, Talbot put his finger up to the Flyers’ fans and “shushed” them. The Penguins would go on and win the game and the series, which would propel the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup. This is something that the Flyers and their fans have been looking for since 1975.
On Wednesday, the Flyers and Penguins are continuing their heated rivalry. The game will be played in Philadelphia, and the arena will be colored in a sea of orange. Thousands of fans will be energetically booing Sidney Crosby the moment he is visible. When the Flyers come to town in November, the Pens’ fans will give those boos right back to the Flyers’ players like Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux. These won’t be just boos, but boos that will be heard and felt all throughout the arena and those respective cities themselves.
This brings up a good question: Is the rivalry between the Penguins and the Flyers the best in the NHL today? That answer is simple, yes!
These teams are not just division rivals, but cross-state rivals. I have been to games at the Penguins’ Consol Energy Center, and Pens’ fans have flat out insulted fans wearing orange and black. I have also heard stories of Penguins fans in Philadelphia who had the same thing done to them. Both arenas give the opposing team and their fans a playoff-type treatment when they come to town.
The Penguins are having the early success so far this season, while the Flyers have fired their coach and have only won one game in this short season. That means nothing to this rivalry, however. When these two teams come together, the hatred between them comes alive. The thuggish style play that the Flyers are known for shines and, at times, disrupts the play of the Penguins’ stars. Other games, the offensive talents of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin show and light up the score board.
No matter what the outcome is on Thursday night, these teams will play hard the entire time. Not just because two points are at stake, but because the rivalry between the cities and these teams come out every single time they take the ice. If you love hockey and you love (or hate) these teams, you have these games circled on your calendar each season.