In the NHL playoffs, the games are played defensively, brutally and with strict discipline. Goal scoring is sparse and the only goal that counts is the game-winning one. But the 2012 NHL playoffs so far have been an anomaly. The playoffs so far can be described as high scoring, extremely physical and teeming with suspense. There have been nine suspension in this year’s playoffs and we are not even out of round one yet. The 2011 playoffs had just seven suspensions through all four rounds. The reason behind this surge of intensity in my opinion has been the lack of discipline. Players have missed defensive responsibilities and when engaging in the physical nature of the sports, players have gone out of bounds. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers series perfectly symbolizes the tone of this year’s playoffs. Game two of the series featured a score of 8-5, although the game was much closer then the score dictates. In game three, the Flyers won by 8-4, but in this game the referees handed 158 penalty minutes. It also saw star players Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Claude Giroux of the Flyers duel it not just on the scoring sheet, but with their fists. While hockey coaches and the league will frown at the high pace and violence, fans love it. NBC reportedly drew a  2.3 rating for game three which is the largest audience in a first round game in a decade. The other matchups have been the same story, though they are low scoring when compared to Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series. It’s still amazing that even after all this fighting, scraping and deep dislike players have for each other, at the end of every series, both teams line up at center ice and shake hands.