PHILADELPHIA — The Pittsburgh Penguins squelched the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. The Penguins didn’t dominate. They simply silenced the Flyers. Marcus Pettersson earned a few stick taps, though.
Perhaps the only thing the Flyers won was a second-period fight between Nicolas Deslauriers and Pettersson, who is not known for pugilistic skills. Conversely, Deslauriers is one of a few bonafide NHL heavyweights remaining in the league.
He is not one to be fought lightly.
“I saw Tanger got hit pretty hard. I figured I had to stand up for him,” Pettersson said. “He would have done the same for me.”
At that point, Kris Letang, packing his equipment in the neighboring locker stall, let out a loud laugh. Pettersson gave him a friendly swat, too.
OK, so maybe Letang wouldn’t run after one of the best fighters in the NHL, but Pettersson did. Though he admitted to PHN, he may have had a moment of hesitation, but he was committed.
“Once the opportunity was there, he kind of baited me into it,” said Pettersson.
I had just one question for Pettersson, “What were you thinking?”
Fortunately, he appreciated the humor and found some in it, too. As you can see in the video, Pettersson didn’t look worse for wear.
The bench and coach Mike Sullivan expressed appreciation for Pettersson standing up for Letang, who was bowled over on a questionable hit by Deslauriers. The hit was close to boarding, though unpenalized.
The Pittsburgh Penguins bench got a pick-me-up, even if Pettersson didn’t win the fight. Even he laughed about it afterward, but it meant a lot to his team, and Sullivan perhaps gave the most effusive praise.
“He’s an unbelievable teammate. He’s a competitive guy. He cares about his teammates,” Sullivan said. “And to stand up for ‘Tanger’ in that circumstance. We know what a pretty tough kid was on the other side. I just give him so much credit. It’s hard to articulate it for me. He’s just an unbelievable teammate.”
Here’s the Marcus Pettersson fight.