Aftermath: Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1
Sunday, 01.24.2010 / 3:40 PM ET / Features
By Jason Seidling
|Anyone who wanted a reason why the Penguins are very serious contenders to take home back-to-back Stanley Cup championships would just need to take a look at Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wachovia Center to see why the Penguins are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers came out strong in the opening period and scored the game’s first goal on a Jeff Carter power-play tally at 5:18. Philadelphia would go on to outshoot the Penguins, 10-5, in the first, but, like all good road teams, and the Penguins are certainly that, Pittsburgh was able to emerge from the first period tied, 1-1, thanks to a man-advantage goal of their own off the blade of Sergei Gonchar.
Two more reasons opponents should feat the Penguins coming down the stretch – their penalty kill remains one of the best in the league and their power play is red-hot. Pittsburgh killed off eight straight Flyers power plays after the Carter goal. Their power play also came up huge when it mattered most. Matt Cooke deflected a Gonchar shot through the legs of Ray Emery with 1:47 remaining in the third period as the Penguins are now 6-for-17 on the power play (35 percent) over their past three games.
|PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Matt Cooke and Sergei Gonchar scored power-play goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Cooke scored the winner with less than two minutes left in the game when he deflected Gonchar's slap shot between Ray Emery's legs.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT|
The Penguins celebrate Matt Cooke's game-winning goal with 1:47 remaining in the third period
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Penalty Kill
Jeff Carter scored a power-play goal for the Flyers on their first opportunity but the Penguins responded by killing off the next eight Philadelphia chances the rest of the way. Included in those numbers was a 42-second two-man advantage for the Flyers in the first period and a power play over the final 48 seconds in the third period both killed by Pittsburgh.
What Could Have Gone Better: Too Many Penalties
Usually it’s the Flyers who have trouble staying out of the penalty box but on Sunday afternoon it was the Penguins who kept getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Granted, the Penguins did kill off all but one of the nine power plays they gave the Flyers, it’s never a good idea to give any team, let alone the league’s third-rated unit that many cracks with an extra skater.
|Matt Cooke was a presence in all three phases of the game against the Flyers – even-strength, on the power play and on the PK. Cooke was rewarded for his efforts when he deflected a Sergei Gonchar slap shot between the legs of Ray Emery on a power play with 1:47 remaining in the contest to give the Penguins the deciding goal in a 2-1 victory.
Cooke was also one of the key components of a penalty killing unit which killed off eight of nine penalties. He fished his night with one goal, three shots, four hits and two takeaways in 14:50 minutes of ice time.
|Philadelphia struck first on a first-period power play as Kimmo Timonen’s slap shot from the left point deflected off a Penguin and landed on the cage behind Brent Johnson. Jeff Carter knocked the puck off the net and banked a shot off Johnson for his sixth goal in five games against the Penguins. Philadelphia 1, Pittsburgh 0.
Pittsburgh answered the Flyers with a power-play goal of their own at 14:33 of the opening period as Sidney Crosby and Ruslan Fedotenko worked hard along the side boards to chip the puck to Sergei Gonchar at the center point. Gonchar’s wrist shot deflected off traffic in the slot and eluded Ray Emery to tie the score. Pittsburgh 1, Philadelphia 1.
Evgeni Malkin set up Gonchar at the center point. The Penguins defenseman fired a slap shot towards Emery which deflected off the stick of Matt Cooke standing on the doorstep on the way through for the game-winning power-play goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation. Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1.
|This weekend is the Penguins 4th Annual “Dad’s Trip” as all players, coaches and support staff were joined in Philadelphia and New York by their dads. Following Sunday’s game against the Flyers the Penguins will travel by train to New York for Monday’s matchup with the Rangers.
Pascal Dupuis returned to action against the Flyers after sitting out against Washington on Thursday night after being drilled from behind by the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Marc-Andre Fleury, who dressed for the first time since suffering a finger fracture Jan. 14 in Edmonton, served as the backup to Brent Johnson. With Maxime Talbot missing his second-consecutive game the Penguins recalled Nick Johnson from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Johnson, who scored in his NHL debut on Thursday, registered one shot and two hits in 11:40 of ice time.
|> Scoring Summary:
PHI, J. Carter PP (22), 5:18 1st period: Flyers 1, Penguins 0
PIT, S. Gonchar PP (8), 14:33 1st period: Penguins 1, Flyers 1
PIT, M. Cooke PP (11), 18:13 3rd period: Penguins 2, Flyers 1
> The Penguins now have a record of 32-20-1 on the season. Their 32 wins are fifth-most in the league through Sunday’s early games. They now have 65 points on the season and have moved within four points of the first-place New Jersey Devils (69).
> Head coach Dan Bylsma picked up his 50th career regular-season victory in his 78th game with the Penguins 2-1 victory over the Flyers. Bylsma becomes the eighth-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 50 wins.
> Pittsburgh improved to 4-1 on the season against the Flyers. The win helps the Penguins clinch the season series for the third time in the past four years (4-2 in 2009-10 and 8-0 in ’06-07).
> Pittsburgh swept all three games in the City of Brotherly Love for the second time in their history (4-0 in 2006-07).
> Since head coach Dan Bylsma took over on Feb. 15 of last season the Penguins have an overall record of 50-23-5 and are 25-13-3 on the road.
> The Penguins improved to 5-4 in the front end of back-to-back games. They take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
> Sergei Gonchar led the way for the Penguins with a goal and an assist against the Flyers. Gonchar has now posted five points (1G-4A) in four games against the Flyers this season. Over his past eight games Gonchar has posted eight points (3G-5A).
> After scoring just one power-play goal in his first 706 career games, Matt Cooke now has two man-advantage tallies over his past four games. For the season, Cooke now has 11 goals to rank fifth (tied) on the team.
> Sidney Crosby picked up an assist on Sergei Gonchar’s first-period goal. That assist gives him 53 career points (24G-29A) in 31 contests against the Flyers.
> Evgeni Malkin also picked up a helper against the Flyers. Malkin now has eight points (4G-4A) over his past four games.
|THREE STARS||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT|
|1. S. Gonchar
2. J. Carter
3. B. Johnson
Author: Jason Seidling