Work in Sports
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins picked a good time to finally win at the First Union Center as Ron Tugnutt made 28 saves and Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka scored goals for a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Tugnutt, acquired from Ottawa before the trade deadline, recorded his third career playoff shutout and improved to just 2-7-2 lifetime against the Flyers. Tugnutt had 10 saves in the third period, including two on Keith Primeau with just under four minutes remaining. Tugnutt stopped the initial shot with his pad then made a sprawling glove stop on Primeau's wrist shot from the top right crease.
"I wasn't as concerned about the shutout as I was about winning the game," said Tugnutt, who made 32 saves in a 7-0 win over Washington in Game One of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. "I realized it was over and said 'Geez, I got a shutout.' Before that it was strictly 'Win the game.' Whether it's 5-4 or 2-0, it's the same thing to me."
Jagr, who led the NHL in points for the third straight season, gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead with his fourth goal of the playoffs at 13:33 of the opening period. Jan Hrdina won a faceoff in the left circle back to Jagr, who faked a shot before flipping the puck off Philadelphia defenseman Chris Therien's skate and past the stick of rookie goaltender Brian Boucher.
"Hrdina won the faceoff. I had a little bit of time to shoot it on the net," said Jagr. "I don't really know what happened, I just saw it go in."
"They caught a break," Boucher said. "They won the draw and Jagr fired the puck. He almost missed it. That shot went off the toe of his stick, and then went off a skate. Sometimes you get those breaks, sometimes you don't. Tonight, they got them."
Straka scored his second goal of the playoffs 4:46 into the second period. He gave the puck to Robert Lang along the left boards and skated across the slot. Lang waited and sent a cross-ice pass to the right circle, where Straka fired a one-timer past Boucher's glove.
The Flyers sent Boucher to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:44 to play, but were unable to get a good shot against Tugnutt. Pittsburgh center Josef Beranek hit the outside of the post from just inside the Flyers zone with 95 seconds left.
Despite being outshot 28-14, Pittsburgh won in Philadelphia for the first time since a 3-0 victory at The Spectrum on February 13, 1994. In that game, current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux scored two goals. The Flyers began playing in the First Union Center in the 1996-97 season. Including three game in the 1997 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Flyers had won 16 straight home meetings with the Penguins.
"It's huge. Everybody knew we hadn't won in 16 games," Jagr said. "That's pretty tough. Everything has to end sometimes.
I'm glad it ended this year."
The Penguins had not won a playoff game in Philadelphia since April 21, 1989, when Jagr was 17 and playing in Czechoslovakia.
"Casts change, times change. I don't put any stock in that," said Pittsburgh coach Herb Brooks. "The only variable that hasn't changed is the very enthusiastic fans. It's a different building. There's a different cast of players on both teams, so you can't compare apples to apples."
The Flyers, who had the league's second-best power-play in the regular season, had just two opportunities with the man advantage. Philadelphia also allowed Pittsburgh five power-play opportunities, although the Penguins did not sustain their typical pressure.
Tugnutt protected Pittsburgh's 1-0 lead with a pad save on rookie Andy Delmore's one-timer with 3:49 left in the opening period. Tugnutt also denied Peter White's attempt on the rebound.
Primeau had a partial breakaway 40 seconds into the second period, but Tugnutt made a diving stop with his glove to stop the shot from the slot.