Talbot helps Penguins take Game 2
For Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final was the stuff that dreams were made of.
"I was in bed this afternoon thinking, 'It would be nice to score a goal and make a big comeback,"' Talbot said. "You think about stuff like that and sometimes it happens. It's a great feeling."
It happened in a big way for Talbot on Sunday, as he scored the game-winning goal in the third period to help the Penguins to a 4-2 win over the visiting Flyers at Mellon Arena on Sunday.
"At the NHL level it's definitely my biggest goal," said Talbot, who now has two career playoff goals. "I'm going to remember it for a long time."
Talbot, who was re-inserted into the Pittsburgh lineup after missing three games with a foot fracture, converted a blind backhanded feed from Gary Roberts for the game-winner at 8:51 of the third.
"Max is a real communicator out there and that's one of the reasons I passed the puck out in front to him because he yelled for it," said Roberts. "It was a great goal by him."
Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa added power play goals while Jordan Staal added an empty-net goal for Pittsburgh, which pushed their series lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-0.
Jeff Carter scored on the power play and Mike Richards added a shorthanded marker for his fourth goal in three games for Philadelphia, which ramped up the physical play in Game 2 but still came up short.
Marc Andre Fleury stopped 30 Philadelphia shots in the win while Flyers netminder Martin Biron countered with 34 saves in a losing effort.
The Flyers were dealt an early blow just 1:51 into Game 2 as defenceman Braydon Coburn, who needed to step up in the absence of Kimmo Timonen, had to leave the game early after he took a deflected point shot from Pittsburgh's Hal Gill right in the face.
Coburn was forced to leave the game with a trail of blood following him as he skated off and reportedly required 40 stitches to repair a gash above his eye.
"My left eye is swollen shut right now. I will keep the ice on it and get the swelling down and see what happens tomorrow," said Coburn in quotes distributed by the Flyers, adding he may be available for Game 3.
With Timomen out for the series with a blood clot in his leg, the Flyers went the rest of the way with only five defencemen.
"Well, obviously it's tough. Coby is an all-situation player for us," said Flyers head coach John Stevens. "He plays big minutes, but I thought the group of five did a heck of a job tonight."
Flyers set physical tone early
The Flyers' physical play had the Penguins on their heels initially, but it eventually led to penalties, which opened the door for the Penguins on the power play.
With Carter already serving a two-minute minor for tripping, Mike Knuble took an additional penalty for cross-checking Staal near the Philadelphia net.
Just as the first penalty was expiring and Carter was attempting to rejoin the play, Crosby attempted a cross-ice pass to the far side of the net from the right corner of the Philadelphia zone.
But the puck deflected off Flyers defenceman Lasse Kukkonen's skate and into the net to give the captain his fourth goal of the playoffs and Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins appeared to double their lead on another fluky deflection at 16:41.
As the Penguins' Sergei Gonchar threw a shot on net, it banked off the face of Flyers defenceman Derian Hatcher and looked very close to crossing the goal line before it was swept away by Biron.
Video replay proved inconclusive however, resulting in no goal.
"Since video review of the play proved inconclusive as to if the puck crossed the goal line, the call of no goal on the ice stands," the league said in a statement.
That seemed to give the Flyers a boost, as they levelled the score at 5:46 of the second period on the power play.
After a poor clearing attempt by Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi was dumped back into the corner of his team's zone, Joffrey Lupul recovered the puck and spotted Carter wide open in the slot to Fleury's right.
Carter one-timed a quick pass from Lupul past the Penguins netminder for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Biron then made his presence felt with a series of solid saves to keep the game tied, but a hooking penalty to Derian Hatcher opened the door once again for Pittsburgh.
Just nine seconds into the man advantage, Hossa buried a rebound off a point shot from Sergei Gonchar to put the Penguins ahead 2-1.
But Richards pulled the Flyers even again as he stole a pass attempt from Evgeni Malkin at the Flyers blue-line on a Pittsburgh power play and broke in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury.
Richards snapped a pretty shot into the top corner over Fleury's glove with 24 seconds left in the second period for his seventh goal of the playoffs.
But although a turnover helped Philadelphia pull even, coughing the puck up late ultimately cost them on Talbot's game-winner in the third.
Both Steve Downie and Hatcher failed to get the puck out of their own end which eventually allowed Roberts to retrieve it in behind the net in the Flyers' zone and set up Talbot for the third Pittsburgh goal.
Downie was the first player to miss an opportunity to clear the puck, which drew criticism from his coach.
"(That) turnover can't happen," said Stevens. "Move your feet. I'd like to see them roll into that puck instead of putting his butt on the ledge, now we got to reach across and get that puck. But that's just, it is a learned skill, and it is a costly turnover there. But he's a good kid. He will rebound from it."
Rebounding in Game 2 had been a specialty for the Flyers, who dropped the first game in their two previous series and still went on to win. But the Flyers will undoubtedly need to dig much deeper to rally from their first 0-2 hole of the post-season.
"They split their first two games in their first two playoff series," said Staal. "We didn't want to give them any life. So we're happy to get this win and hopefully we'll [win] two in their building."
Game 3 is set for the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia (Tuesday, 7:30 pm ET, CBC, CBCSports.ca).
With files from the Canadian Press