— Matt Cooke (10, 11) scored twice and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
Cooke who was tremendous in the win, opened the scoring 3:17 into the game and from there it was a back and forth game until Pittsburgh pulled away in the third period.
Jaromir Jagr scored twice in the first period for goals 14 and 15 on the season, and the Flyers took a 2-1 lead but the Penguins who were undisciplined, came up huge on the penalty kill, getting shorthanded goals in the second period from Jordan Staal at 15:14 of the period and Matt Cooke scored 3-on-5 a 1:43 later, beating a flat footed Kimmo Timonen and sending goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the bench for a rare 3-on-5 goal. It was the Penguins first 3-on-5 goal since Mario Lemieux did it on February 13, 1988.
“I’ve only seen a few of those ever happen, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said about Cooke’s 3-on-5 goal.
A 3-3 game after two periods saw the Penguins break the game open with three third period goals from Dustin Jeffrey (4), Pascal Dupuis (13) and James Neal (30). Jeffrey scored 37 seconds into the period and Dupuis scored less than two minutes later giving Pittsburgh a 5-3 lead just 2:09 into the period. Neal notched his 30th of the season at 9:02 of the period putting the game out of reach.
Eric Wellwood (1) and Wayne Simmonds (21) also scored for the Flyers.
Marc Andre Fleury made 27 saves in the win as the Penguins improved to 33-20-5, 71 pts, on the season.
— Special teams played a pivotal role in the game as the two teams combined for 9 power play opportunities. Pittsburgh’s day was highlighted by two shorthanded goals, including a 3-on-5 goal from Matt Cooke when the game was tied 2-2 late in the second period. The Flyers went 1-for-6 on the power play. ”The PK was exceptional, ” Bylsma said.
— Ilya Bryzgalov’s woes continue and the $51 million dollar goaltender was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals on 13 shots. Back to back shorthanded goals by Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke a 1:43 apart ended Bryzgalov’s day. Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t much better giving up 3 goals on 17 shots.
— A potential (4-5) first round series matchup between the cross-state rivals had just about everything today but what’s become evident for years between the two teams is that Pittsburgh has a significant advantage in goal and that hasn’t changed with the Flyers addition of Bryzgalov.
— Matt Cooke the games No. 1 star, had 2 goals and 1 assist for his first three point game (1st as a Penguin) since March 3, 2008 — when he was a member of the Washington Capitals. Cooke has 14 career shorthanded goals.
— Jordan Staal earned the games No. 2 star with a goal and an assist. Staal has 3 goals in four games since returning from injury and 6 goals in his last nine games.
— James Neal has hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career.
— Brooks Orpik was a +4 in 20:45 of ice time.
— Evgeni Malkin had 1 assist, collecting his 70th point of the season. Malkin was 8 of 12 in the faceoff circle.
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