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Flyers, Sabres Learning To Hate Each Other In First Round NHL Playoff Series

Quick question: if a week ago, we asked which first round NHL playoff series would be the dirtiest, which one would you have picked? I'm guessing it would have been the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens series, no?

As it turns out, the series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres has proven to be the nastiest, with both teams getting in on festivities. 

We could go over several instances of this stuff in the first three games of the series, but it really took on a life of its own in Game 4 on Wednesday. First, there's Patrick Kaleta's sneaky little move to open the bench door on Flyers forward Nikolay Zherdev, or as Puck Daddy called it, his "dastardly open-door policy."

And then late in the game as the final seconds ticked off the clock, there was Kimmo Timonen's shot to the groin of Nathan Gerbe

These are just two examples, and some of the view we have video evidence of. There was also the get-together between Dan Carcillo and Ryan Miller near the Buffalo net in the second period, and a cheapshot on Danny Briere after a whistle in the third.

It seems like every whistle in this series is followed by something cheap from one side or the other, and as we prepare for Game 5 on Friday, the war of words is also heating up. Lindy Ruff has a history of mouthing off to the media during playoff series with the Flyers, and this year has been no different.

Via Sabres Edge:

"I just feel that there's a lot of whining," the Sabres' coach said in HSBC Arena. "They're really doing a lot of whining. I didn't hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly, and I didn't hear them whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided. But all of sudden there's all this whining about we're getting away with murder. That's a bunch of crap. That's for the media. That's for the officials to read. That's for, 'Here, let's get the next call.' It's a bunch of crap. Let's just play.

"We're just playing. There hasn't been one word about officiating out of us, but if they want to cry about the officiating or whine about different calls, go ahead.

"It's going to be decided by the emotion on the ice, how hard you want to play and how hard you want to compete and how dirty you want to get. I accept the fact the emotions are going to be ramped up real high in that game. I want to see what players come to the top of that."

There's a certain irony in going on a rant about whining "for the media" in front of the media, of course, but it goes both ways. Mike Richards of the Flyers responded, via Philly Sports Daily.

"That's fine, that's fine, We're focused on tomorrow night. [Ruff] seems to have a way with the media and does the same thing every time his team is in the playoffs. We're focused on tomorrow and getting a good start and getting hits on their skill players. We're not worried about the other stuff.

[It happens after] lots of plays. I like our discipline so far this series. We can't worry about that stuff, we need to key on their players and not cross that boundary. We've done a good job walking away from the scrums and not feeding into their b.s.I'm not surprised by it, they have physical players. Lindy is a good coach and he brings that out. They are being physical and try to take us off our game but we're doing a good job of not letting that happen."

Ah, playoffs. Game 5 should be pretty fun.