PHILADELPHIA – Matt Cooke put his stick in the right place, and the puck found it.
Cooke scored the go-ahead goal with 1:47 left in the game when he deflected Sergei Gonchar’s slap shot between Ray Emery’s legs, and the Pittsburgh Penguins slipped past the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Sunday.
“I didn’t do anything,” said Cooke, whose goal came on a power play. “I didn’t see the puck. I was trying to create as much havoc as I could. Gonchar shot it off my stick and it went in.”
All three goals came on power plays. The Penguins’ go-ahead score came after a delay of game call on Kimmo Timonen, who flipped his clearing shot over the glass, an automatic minor penalty.
“It’s a tough rule, you know?” The Flyers’ Simon Gagne said. “It’s part of the game. That’s not what you want, but it’s part of the game. We have to find a way to kill those, but we didn’t. All that good work for no points at the end – it’s tough to take.”
Gonchar also scored a power-play goal, on a slap shot at 14:33 of the first period.
Jeff Carter scored on a power play for Philadelphia at 5:18 of the first period. Skating behind the crease, Carter scooped the puck out of the netting and flicked a shot off the back of Brent Johnson’s right leg.
The goal was Carter’s fifth in four games and his 16th point in 11 games against Pittsburgh.
Johnson made 27 saves, while Emery had 20.
The game featured 30 minutes of penalties combined in the first period – and 52 total – as the teams continued their Eastern Conference rivalry in the fifth of their six meetings this season. The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins lead the series 4-1.
Gagne’s high-sticking penalty negated Mike Richards’ goal at 13:23 of the first and gave Pittsburgh a power play. The penalty proved even more costly when Gonchar scored on a slap shot 1:10 later on feed from Ruslan Fedotenko.
“That’s a two-goal swing right there,” Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. “But they found a way to win. We didn’t.”
After a scoreless second period, the teams traded power plays in the third period, with the Penguins getting the crucial advantage at the right time.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was unhappy with the call on Gagne.
“I’m frustrated because, for the last month and a half, we’ve been preaching discipline, preaching staying out of the (penalty) box, and we’ll kill the ones that we have to take,” he said. “But going back and looking at this game, there were too many penalties (called) that didn’t happen. Simon Gagne did not high-stick anybody, but it turns around and goes back the other way.”
“It was an accident,” Laviolette said. “It went out of the rink. You wish it didn’t, but it did. Those are the ones that we have to kill.”
“They sit around and wait for their chances, then take advantage,” Richards said. “It’s a tough way to lose it, especially with the power-play chances we had.”
The Penguins aren’t complaining.
“A win is a win and you have to do what it takes to do that, because things get tougher down the line,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “Today was an intense game, and when there’s that much intensity, it’s a good test.”
Notes: Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury missed his fourth straight game with a broken finger. … The Flyers’ Kimmo Timonen recorded his 100th assist as a Flyer on Carter’s first-period goal. … The Flyers’ loss snapped a six-game home winning streak.