The Flyers Get Cooke-ing Lessons
- Updated: February 18, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — The Pittsburgh Penguins showed Saturday they can beat the Philadelphia Flyers no matter how many players they have on the ice. Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke scored shorthanded goals 1:43 apart late in the second period for the Penguins in their 6-4 victory against the host Flyers.
Cooke scored twice and had an assist, while Staal had a goal and an assist as the Pens beat their intrastate rivals for the first time in three meetings this season.
Jaromir Jagr scored a pair of goals 18 seconds apart in the first period for the Flyers, rookie Eric Wellwood scored his first NHL goal and Wayne Simmonds also had a goal. The Flyers appeared to have a good hold on the game heading into the final five minutes of the second period. They were up 2-1 when Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 14:58. However, that’s when the game titled in the Penguins’ favor.
Claude Giroux made a blind, backhand pass intended for Jakub Voracek that instead found a Pittsburgh skater. Staal picked up the puck and entered the Philadelphia zone. Using Voracek as a screen, he fired a shot from the left side that Bryzgalov missed with his glove at 15:14.
Seconds later, Brooks Orpik joined Dupuis in the penalty box after being called for hooking Giroux. The Flyers had a two-man advantage, but Craig Adams blocked a Jagr shot, and Cooke jumped on the loose puck. He blew past Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, then held off a Timonen hooking attempt to lift the puck over Bryzgalov at 16:57.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first 3-on-5 goal allowed by the Flyers since Benoit Hogue of the Islanders did it March 9, 1993. Hogue scored into an empty net, so the last time a Flyers goaltender yielded a 3-on-5 tally was Dec. 28, 1979 at Winnipeg, when the Jets’ Jude Drouin scored. The last time a Penguins’ player scored a 3-on-5 tally was Mario Lemieux at Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 1988.
That ended Bryzgalov’s day after allowing three goals on 13 shots; he was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on 17 shots. The Flyers tied the game late in the period when Wellwood took advantage of a Penguins mistake. Playing the puck while skating backward in his zone, Deryk Engelland fell right in front of the Penguins’ net, and Wellwood poked the loose puck under Fleury at 18:41 for his first NHL goal.
The Penguins needed just 37 seconds of the third to re-take the lead as Dustin Jeffrey drove to the net to bang in the rebound of a Cooke shot.
Pittsburgh made it 5-3 at 2:09 when Pascal Dupuis banked a shot off Bobrovsky’s left skate and into the net, and Neal scored his 30th of the season when he scored off his own rebound at 9:02 to make it 6-3.
Simmonds closed the scoring with his 21st goal of the season with 19.0 seconds left.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead just 3:17 into the game when miscommunication between the Flyers’ newest defense pair, Andrej Meszaros and Nicklas Grossman, making his debut with the Flyers after being acquired Thursday, allowed Cooke and Arron Asham to break out on a 2-on-1. Cooke carried the puck down the left side beat Bryzgalov for his 10th of the season.
The Flyers took the lead in quick order as Jagr ripped a pair of shots from almost the identical spot in the right circle. At 15:16, with the teams skating 4-on-4, Danny Briere pushed a puck through the neutral zone to Jagr, who carried into the Pittsburgh end along the right side of the ice. He looked up like he was going to pass and then ripped a shot over the glove of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Seconds later, with Staal off for holding, Giroux set up Jagr in the right circle, and he ripped another shot over Fleury’s glove for his 15th of the season at 15:34. Jagr now has 661 goals, seven behind 10th-place Luc Robitaille on the NHL’s all-time list.