Pair of shorthanded goals help Pens past rival Flyers

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

PHILADELPHIA -- As Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis skated to the penalty box at 14:58 of the second period with his team trailing the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, he thought his team was in a bad spot.

"We know they have a good power play," Dupuis said. "We know they shoot well, we know (Claude) Giroux is a great playmaker. Obviously it doesn't feel great to be in the box when your team is on the PK."

The Flyers may have had the man-power advantage, but in the two minutes Dupuis sat in the box, the advantage was all Pittsburgh's.

Jordan Staal scored a 4-on-5 goal and Matt Cooke scored 3-on-5 in a 1:43 span to spark the Penguins to a 6-4 victory against the Flyers.

It was the Penguins' first win in three tries against their intrastate rival this season and moved them into fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, the same as the fourth-place Flyers.

"That's huge," Dupuis said. "They were ahead of us in the standings, and you want to catch teams, especially down the stretch like that. It was a big win for us."

Cooke had two goals and an assist, Staal had a goal and an assist, and Dustin Jeffrey, Dupuis and James Neal all had goals for the Penguins.

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 as the Flyers fell to 2-5-1 in their last eight games.

Jagr's scoring burst had given the Flyers a 2-1 lead late in the second period, and just when it looked like the Flyers were going to be able to take full control, the Penguins penalty killers killed the Flyers' hopes.

Giroux made a blind, backhand pass intended for Jakub Voracek that instead found the Penguins' Craig Adams, who broke out of the Pittsburgh zone. He passed Staal following on the left side, and as he entered the Philadelphia zone, he used Voracek as a screen and fired a shot that Flyers goalie Ilya 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 Kimmo Timonen misplayed a Giroux pass and Cooke blew past him to grab the loose puck. With Timonen hooking him, Cooke lifted the puck over Bryzgalov's blocker 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 scored two men down into an empty net March 9, 1993. The last time a Penguins player scored a 3-on-5 goal was Mario Lemieux against the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 13, 1988.

"We haven't scored a lot of goals shorthanded lately," said Cooke. "Our focus is to kill them first. But when given the opportunity or you have the chance to go on the offensive, we want to do that. (Adams) did a great job letting (Staal) join on the 2-on-2, pushed the 'D' back and (Staal) shot through the screen. That was a great shot, I don't think the goalie saw it. And then mine, puck took a fortunate bounce. On the 5-on-3 they only have one guy back. Timonen had been out there for a while, I thought I could try it. Fortunately it went in because I was pretty tired at the end of it."

The Flyers were baffled at how a great advantage could end up with them trailing.

"We had a 5-on-3, a good chance to score a goal, and then, I don't know," Giroux said. "Personally, I did some bad passes. I mean, 5-on-3 should be automatic and in the net, so we know we have to be better. It didn't help our case tonight."

The back-to-back shorthanded goals also brought an end to a tough day for Bryzgalov, who was yanked after allowing three goals on 13 shots. He left to a combination of boos and cheers for his replacement, Sergei Bobrovsky.

"It's an easy life when you can blame one guy," Bryzgalov said. "It's a bad goalie, the goalie's mistake. It's easy to find scapegoat when you point to one guy and say we always lose because we have a bad goalie. But I think it's the wrong philosophy. I know … I was frustrated with my game today. I know I've got to be better. I will continue to work on this but … I'll try to find peace in my soul to play in this city."
Bobrovsky didn't fare much better, letting in three goals on 17 shots.

"I think everybody is frustrated right now with the loss to Pittsburgh and I think that we can be better in a lot of different areas," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said when asked about his goaltending, "and that certainly is one of them."

The Flyers were able to regain momentum late in the second 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.

"You never expect the puck to be there," said Wellwood, who became the eighth Flyer this season to score his first NHL goal. "Everything happened so fast. I was so close on (goalie Marc-Andre) Fleury, I just tried to poke it on net. I didn't have any place I was trying to put it, it just went in so that's nice."

Any momentum gained, however, was lost on the first shift of the third period. Timonen gave the puck away twice, and Bobrovsky was able to stop in-close attempts by Jeffrey and Cooke, but Jeffrey's third shot found the back of the net, just 37 seconds into the third.

"We really haven't forechecked all that well recently," said Cooke. "It's been a focus of ours. Tonight in the first period we felt we did it pretty good and wanted to get back to it. Kind of a weird second period because of all the penalties. Wanted to get back to it in the third, and it so happened that our first shift out we get some offensive zone time. I get a chance and then Dustin buries the rebound."

Minutes later Dupuis scored to make it 5-3, and then Neal knocked his own rebound past Bobrovsky for his 30th of the season to make it 6-3.

Simmonds' goal with 19.0 seconds left closed the scoring.

The Penguins had taken 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 Fleury's glove.

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.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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