Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cooke's Feast a Gourmet's Delight Rare -3-on-5 Goal Stirs Pot in Victory Penguins 6, Flyers 4

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cooke's Feast a Gourmet's Delight Rare -3-on-5 Goal Stirs Pot in Victory Penguins 6, Flyers 4

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Cooke has played 863 regular-season games in the NHL.

Some have been pretty good.

A lot have been forgettable.

A few have been regrettable.

But it is unlikely that any of the others yielded a performance quite the equal of the one he turned in Saturday afternoon in the Penguins' 6-4 victory against Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center.

Cooke scored two goals -- one of them the Penguins' first three- on-five goal in more than 24 years -- and assisted on another to complement the four shots and two hits he contributed.

If it was not the finest game of his career, it surely was a medalist.

"I've had a few games that have been good," Cooke said. "I've had a couple of two-goal games -- this is the second one this year -- but this is pretty sweet. Especially to have it happen against Philly."

The victory was the Penguins' first in three games against Philadelphia this season, and it hoisted them into a tie with the Flyers for fourth in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers, meanwhile, again failed to win consecutive games, something they have not managed since Jan. 10-12.

Cooke's three-on-five goal -- the Penguins' first since Mario Lemieux scored one in Los Angeles Feb. 13, 1998 -- was the most remarkable moment in a second period that might go down as the wildest 20 minutes of the Penguins season.

And maybe of a lot of their seasons.

Referees Stephane Auger and Paul Devorski handed out 12 minutes in penalties in the middle period, including 10 to the Penguins, but the only special-teams goals scored then were a couple the Penguins got while short-handed.

"That second period was something different," Penguins forward Dustin Jeffrey said. "All the penalties, power plays and short- handed goals, you really don't see that kind of stuff too often."

That there would be power plays should not have surprised anyone because, like most Penguins-Flyers games, this one had a fairly nasty edge.

It started with a punishing Deryk Engelland hit on Flyers center Claude Giroux early in the first period and included a nasty- looking slash by Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk to the left wrist of winger James Neal. …

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