In the first period, after Schenn charged the Penguins' Paul Martin, Asham crosschecked Schenn to the chin and then punched his head into the ice for good measure, and received a match penalty for his trouble. In the third period, Neal took a jolting, open-ice run at an unsuspecting Couturier, with the puck barely in the picture.
With the Penguins - also known as the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup - on the way to losing their third straight game to the Flyers, the intent was obvious enough. In the end, both of the Flyers rookies seemed fine, unhurt and unfazed; take a licking and keep on kicking ass, or something.
And maybe that is the story here, as the Flyers tighten their astounding grip around the Penguins' necks.
Not the hits, but the reactions.
"They went after Schenn and Couturier," teammate Danny Briere said. "They keep going after anybody that they go after and we keep standing up for ourselves. We keep being there for each other. Rookies are veterans. It's a good sign."
The Flyers' rookie story has been written and rewritten in recent days and weeks. It has been unavoidable. This is such a young team, and so many of the players are involved in their first playoff go-round, and what should have been a weakness has somehow turned into this irrepressible strength. Written and rewritten. Again and again.
Schenn had a goal and two assists in Game 1 against the Penguins. Couturier, age 19, became the second-youngest player in NHL history to score a playoff hat trick in Game 2. Then Sunday, Matt Read scored twice in Game 3.
Question: "Your turn?"
Matt Read: "I guess."
And the point is, for these rookies, nothing changed as the Penguins turned up the heat. The Pens were led in this endeavor by Sidney Crosby, everyone's favorite target, who assessed the situation and saw how the game was turning and clearly decided that agitation was in order. (Oh, and just remember: the stuff Crosby did in Game 3, like taking a few extra whacks at the glove of Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, or knocking away Jakub Voracek's glove, might be the stuff that makes you hate him - but it was the stuff you loved when the late Mike Richards was doing it for the Flyers from 2005 to 2011.)
Every few years I write this line in a column: that it takes more courage to skate a single shift in a Stanley Cup playoff game than it does to play any other professional sport. This was that kind of a day. For the first time in this series, the Flyers' rookies were presented with a truly savage test.
Couturier? He got up slowly from his hit by Neal with 4:42 left in the game but didn't miss anything, playing two more shifts in the final few minutes. Talking to reporters afterward, he appeared unmarked and unfazed as he explained "the puck wasn't close" when Neal hit him.
"I never saw him coming," Couturier said. "I don't know. Maybe it was accidental. I don't know."
As for Schenn, he described the Asham play as, "Just a hit. I just saw him coming at me. I didn't really expect a crosscheck, but that's what happened."
And the punch?
"Yeah," he said. "That's just his temper rising, nothing more than that."
"I didn't expect it, that's for sure," Schenn said.
But the real revelation was that Schenn was pretty much beaming as he spoke. He was fine with the whole thing. They all were. They all had just gotten their first real baptisms - of the kind of playoff hockey, brutal and primal, that has always defined the sport - and they all very clearly were ready for more.
In real life, they have those infant milestone checklists - sitting up, crawling, walking, talking. In hockey life, it is a little different - regular season and playoffs, home and away, the losing streak and the rookie wall. And mayhem.
Sunday, Schenn and Couturier and Read and the rest checked off mayhem. And beamed.
"It's awesome - playoff hockey," Schenn said. "You see how hard everyone competes and the hatred between these two teams. It was a lot of fun."
Contact Rich Hofmann at firstname.lastname@example.org