ShareThis Page

Penguins juggle lines, land key win

| Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — The Penguins could be on to something.

A 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Wachovia Center is a game the not-so-hot Penguins could build upon.

"It's been a long time since we played such a solid game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

Last night's win followed by a five-game homestand that opens tonight against the Washington Capitals could be just what the Penguins need.

"I think this is really good for our confidence," Therien said. "If we are playing the right way, good things might happen to us."

The remodeled line of Sidney Crosby — a first-line mainstay — usual second-liner Evgeni Malkin and the newly promoted Matt Cooke proved to be a good combination. Malkin and Cooke scored a goal apiece, while Crosby finished with two assists.

"Playing with those two guys is unbelievable," Cooke said. "It's a lot of fun. I really can't try to do too much. I just have to go out and bring what I bring and create space."

Any win, at this point, is critical for the Penguins, but this one was particularly big. Defeating their Atlantic Division foe was a quality win considering the Penguins handed the Flyers their first loss in regulation at home in more than two months.

This victory — behind a 27-save performance from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury — could be a sign of better things to come for the Penguins. Last night's game marked just the Penguins' second win in nine games.

"The season gets shorter by the day, and we have to start making up some ground," Cooke said.

The Penguins fell behind early but used a goal from forward Tyler Kennedy in the final four minutes of the first period to make the score, 1-1. The Penguins would score the next three goals — thanks to Malkin, Staal and Cooke — in the second period and seemed to have the game in hand.

"We didn't want to give them any life," Therrien said.

The Flyers didn't have much more to offer other than a Joffrey Lupul goal that came at the 8:07 mark of the third period. With the score, 4-2, the Penguins protected the lead — something they haven't been able to do very well as of late.

"We stayed sharp in the third and created some good chances," Crosby said.

The Penguins' scoring chances were plentiful in the second period when they converted on three of 11 shots. Just 1:42 in, Malkin scored his 17th goal of the season. He handled a pass from Crosby and fired the puck above the right shoulder of goalie Martin Biron and into the net. His goal gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

The Penguins struck again when center Jordan Staal carried the puck half the length of the ice before he lifted a backhand shot just below the crossbar and into the net. His goal gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead at the 12:25 mark of the second period.

The Penguins scored their fourth and final goal when Crosby wrapped the puck around the net before Cooke tapped it in to give the Penguins a 4-1 advantage.

"We set ourselves up and put ourselves in a good position," Crosby said. "We just kept playing the same way. We were able to gain momentum shift after shift. Every line did a great job."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.