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Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Updated: June 3, 9:04 AM ET
Game 3's defining moment: Cooke draws penalty that leads to winning goal


Matt Cooke

Defining moment: Matt Cooke draws a penalty in the third period.

PITTSBURGH -- In order for Sergei Gonchar to play the hero on the power play, there had to be a penalty called to set up that man-advantage situation. That situation was created thanks to the hard work of Matt Cooke, who had perhaps his strongest game in the playoffs in Tuesday's Game 3.

Throughout the game, Cooke and the rest of the Pens' third line, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy, pressured the Red Wings with a vigorous forecheck, often beating their opponents to the puck and cycling the puck deep in the Detroit zone.

Just past the nine-minute mark of the third period with the game tied 2-2, Cooke raced into the Red Wings' zone after a loose puck. Realizing he was going to be beaten to the puck, Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson squeezed Cooke into the boards, even though he was nowhere near the puck. The Detroit rookie was whistled for interference, and 1:23 later, Gonchar scored what would be the game-winning goal in the Pens' 4-2 victory.

"How do you draw penalties? You have to keep moving your feet," assistant coach Tom Fitzgerald told ESPN.com. "That's what Matt Cooke did."

Fitzgerald praised Cooke's work on the night, especially his physical play.

"I'm sure that for Matt Cooke, those hits are like scoring goals," Fitzgerald said.