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10-02-2004, 10:40 PM
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It was a fairly uneventful game until the 3rd. Mid-way through the period Josh Gratton welcomed himself into the hearts of Phantom and Flyer fans by bumping Ahonen and then destroying Teemu Kesa in a fight. On the ensuing faceoff Cam Janssen quickly disposed of Jeff Smith and the Rats came alive taking the lead shortly thereafter. The Phantoms survived a couple of two-man disadvantages (including at the start of OT) and Pitkanen finally tied it late in the 3rd. In the shootout Suglabov (who went 2nd) was the only scorer. None of the Phantoms came close.

There was one major brou-ha-ha in the 3rd when Smith cross-checked Parise in the face but Smith wound up on the short end when two Rats held him down leaving David Hale free to cave in his face (3 Phantoms had headed to the bench). Also Gratton late made it two-for-two when he pummeled the much taller Alex Alexeyev, nearly KOing him at one point.

-Patrick Sharp looked just He was the best player on the ice.

-I thought Pitkanen looked terrible. He still avoids contact too often for a guy his size.

-Nittymaki was very good, especially when you consider how often the Phantoms played shorthanded.

-They went with a young defense. Printz, Ruggieri, Wood, Pitkanen, Hope, Skolney.

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