There was no doubting that for a stretch of a few years there was no more intense rivalry, possibly in any sport, than between the two Pennsylvanian teams. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers rivalry was so fierce between the players and fans that if a Flyers fan had opened this article to see the Penguins name first, they would have most likely closed the window instantly.
Countless fights, including a head coach inviting the other to a scrap, and big hits all sparked by games with playoff implications, actual playoff matchups and a Sidney Crosby chipped tooth. There wasn’t much that the Keystone Rivalry didn’t have to offer.
Then was then. That was when Riley Cote and Georges LaRaque (and then Eric Godard) roamed the ice. When Max Talbot wore the black-and-gold and Daniel ‘Car Bomb’ Carcillo was a broad street bully.
There are some carry overs, obviously, but the 1970s-mentality hatred for each seems to have turned the page with the new century in favor of looking to beat each other on the scorecards more so than with the fist.
Does it make the rivalry boring? That’s just as doubtful as the chances of finding a fan of either team not overly geared up to face each other, but it does add an interesting, and different, chapter in one of sport’s greatest rivalries.
Thursday’s game was certainly an entertaining contest, and despite the deceiving score, you can certainly tell that whoever wins the season series will have to earn each and every point.
Anthony Murphy is a contributing writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.