No love lost between Ruff, Hitchcock after Game 2

Updated: April 25, 2006, 2:09 AM ET
ESPN.com

THE MORNING SKATE
The series between the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers has been a physical one. That tone was punctuated after Philadelphia's R.J. Umberger was knocked woozy by Brian Campbell's heavy, but legal, hit in Buffalo's Game 1 victory.

But after the Sabres' shocking 8-2 win over the Flyers on Monday, the two head coaches got chippy themselves.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff didn't like some of the hits the Flyers were delivering in the lost cause.

"Use a different word if you want, but I thought they did," Ruff said. "The more they acted like idiots, the more we wanted to play."

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock took offense to Ruff's description after the Flyers took 17 penalties, including Denis Gauthier's ejection and Ben Eager's two misconducts when play deteriorated as the Sabres built a 5-0 first-period lead.

"That's Lindy's opinion," Hitchcock said. "I've seen his teams do the same thing. So he ought not to talk about that."

Hitchcock took one more question before abruptly leaving the podium. On his way out, he used two profanities in muttering aloud that Ruff should mind his own business.

"Tell Lindy to [expletive] off, to mind his own [expletive] business."

Outside of Ruff and Hitchcock, tempers had already starting spilling over during the lop-sided game.

• Goalie Robert Esche's frustrations bubbled 16 minutes into the opening period when he dropped his gloves and challenged Buffalo's Derek Roy and Toni Lydman to fight. Peter Forsberg had given a Sabres player a light tap on the way back to his bench. When the whistle blew on a delayed call, Roy hit Forsberg from behind. Esche, who was heading toward the bench on the delayed call, went after Roy. Esche tried to throw punches and had to be restrained by a linesman (see picture to the right).

• Derian Hatcher gave an elbow to Campbell, who delivered the hit to Umberger, who missed Game 2 after failing a concussion-related test.

• The Flyers also targeted Sabres rookie Thomas Vanek. Gauthier received a five-minute major penalty and was ejected for running Vanek from behind six minutes into the second period. Eager's second misconduct came after he goaded Vanek to punch him and then started a fracas near the Sabres bench.

It all makes up for quite the welcome when the series shifts to Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

-- ESPN.com news services/The AP

NEWS, NOTES AND MORE
 

History mounting against Blueshirts
As the Rangers head back to Madison Square Garden down 0-2 vs. the Devils, let's look at a glaring number. Only once has New York rallied back from an 0-2 deficit in the playoffs. The Rangers came back from an 0-2 hole and won four straight against the Canadiens in the 1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Short-handed? No problem
John Madden tied an NHL playoff record with two man-down goals as part of his first postseason hat trick in the Devils' 4-1 win over the Rangers in Game 2. Madden holds the Devils' regular-season record with 13 career short-handed goals and tied the team's career playoff mark for man-down goals with four.



NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
GOOD
Avs forward Joe Sakic: Scored an NHL playoff-record seventh overtime goal in win over Stars.
BETTER
Buffalo's J.P. Dumont and Jason Pominville: Each had three goals and an assist in an 8-2 win.
BEST
Devils center John Madden: Tied an NHL record with two short-handed goals in a win over N.Y.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
AP Photo/Don Heupel
Flyers goalie Robert Esche was held back by a linesman after tempers flared in the Sabres' 8-2 win over the Flyers.
MONDAY'S MOTION
Habs beat Hurricanes in double OT.
STAT OF THE DAY
2 -- That's how many netminders were pulled in Monday's games. Carolina's Cam Ward took over in the first period after Martin Gerber allowed three goals and the Flyers' Antero Niittymaki took over at the start of the second period after Robert Esche gave up five goals.

35 -- That's how many goals were collectively scored in all four of Monday's playoff games.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Use a different word if you want, but I thought they did. The more they acted like idiots, the more we wanted to play."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff in reference to the Philly's play after Buffalo's 8-2 win.