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Insider Only Cooke, Gonchar lead Penguins to 2-1 win over Philadelphia

Post-Philadelphia Reactions & Observations
In a game that was a special teams battle, Sergei Gonchar, Matt Cooke each scored power play goals, leading Pittsburgh to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon at the Wachovia Center
Pittsburgh went 2-for-8 on the power play but delivered in crunch time as Cooke scored the winner with less than two minutes left in the game when he deflected a Sergei Gonchar slap shot past Flyers goaltender Ray Emery.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timmonen was called for a delay of game penalty at 16:50 of the third period.
Both teams were undisciplined and Pittsburgh was excellent on the penalty kill as the Flyers went 1-for-9 on the power play. Pittsburgh was aggressive and forced the Flyers to the outside all afternoon.
Pittsburgh success on the penalty kill under assistant coach Tony Granato has been all about having their “sticks in the passing lanes.”

After giving up a fluke goal to Jeff Carter at 5:18 of the first period, Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson had a strong game, making 27 saves. Johnson got a surprise start after Marc Andre Fleury was cleared to play yesterday and head coach Dan Bylsma indicated on Saturday that Fleury was likely to start.
Fleury was active for the first time in over a week. The Penguins franchise goaltender did not start for the fourth straight game.
The Flyers outshot Pittsburgh 28-22 and 13-6 in the third period. Philadelphia was a disappointed team after the game as the Flyers are now 10 pts behind Pittsburgh in the standings.
Today’s loss for Philadelphia can been seen as a four point swing for the Flyers, who also had their three game home win streak snapped
Pittsburgh returns to action tomorrow night against the New York Rangers.

Post-Game Wrap Up

*Sidney Crosby had an assist in the game but was held without a shot. Flyers head coach Coach Peter Laviolette switched up his defensive pairs in the second period, using Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen against Crosby.
The pairing was effective keeping Crosby in check. However, Crosby did hit two posts in the game, one of the power play.
*There was plenty of physical play in the game and Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik had a game 8 hits. These are the type of games where Orpik is one of the Penguins most valuable players.
*Evgeni Malkin had an assist and has 8 points in his last 4 games. Another bright sign was Ruslan Fedotenko who played well for the second straight game. Fedotenko has 4 assists in his last two games. Linemate Nick Johnson also played well, and was effective on the forecheck.
*Although the Flyers are considered one of the toughest teams in the NHL, they no longer use an enforcer under Peter Laviolette. Riley Cote was once again a healthy scratch today. With Cote out of the lineup, it made Pittsburgh use 11 forwards. Eric Godard had 3 shifts for 2:44 of ice time and didn’t see his first shift until the second period.
A lot of talk around the league for teams is how to contain Flyers winger Daniel Carcillo from getting out of control. Carcillo can actually play the game and from Pittsburgh’s standpoint, having Eric Godard in the lineup is not going to deter Carcillo from pulling a “Marian Gaborik” scene from a few nights ago and taking a shot at a Sidney Crosby.
Having a player like a Jarkko Ruutu is the best way to contain Daniel Carcillo. Many teams don’t have one and Carcillo is going to be a problem for a lot of teams around the league.
*Pittsburgh will immediately travel to New York following the game. The team has a big dinner planned in the city for the Fathers/Son trip.
Notes
*Defenseman Martin Skoula was a healthy scratch for the 8th straight game.
*Winger Maxime Talbot traveled with the team but is not expected to play during the Penguins two-game road trip.
*Flyers Kimmo Timonen recorded his 100th assist as a Flyer on Jeff Carter’s first-period goal.
*Over 10 teams had scouts in attendance. Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Rangers and Chicago

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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