Talbot’s game-winner pushes Penguins past Flyers 4-2
PITTSBURGH ” Max Talbot, a sometimes overlooked fourth-line forward on a team renowned for its stars, scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins took a two-game lead in the Eastern Conference finals by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 Sunday night.
Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa also scored and Jordan Staal added an empty-net goal in the final minute as Pittsburgh came back to win after twice squandering one-goal leads.
Pittsburgh won the first two games at home for the third consecutive series, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Philadelphia. The Flyers won each of their first two playoff rounds after losing Game 1, but this is the first time they also lost Game 2 on the road.
The Penguins’ game-winner came from its fourth line, and by a player who had missed the previous three games with a broken right foot.
Gary Roberts, who turns 42 later this month, carried the puck behind the net, and defenseman Derian Hatcher went with him, leaving Talbot open in front of the net. Roberts put a backhander onto his stick for Talbot’s second playoff goal, at 8:51 of the third.
Fitting that a player known as Mad Max scored the game winner in a peculiar game in which an apparent Pittsburgh goal didn’t count and the Flyers scored short-handed and on the power play but couldn’t score at even strength. And Crosby, one of the NHL’s biggest stars, scored only his third power-play goal in 5 1/2 months.
Philadelphia, desperately trying to avoid going down two games against a team with Pittsburgh’s speed and talent, tied it at 2 when Mike Richards intercepted Evgeni Malkin’s risky cross-ice pass on a power, got loose on a breakaway and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot with 24 seconds remaining in the second period.
Despite allowing the goal, Fleury played another strong game by making 30 saves.
At the time, the Penguins were pressing for a two-goal lead after Hossa’s power-play goal at 13:43 of the second made it 2-1.
Hossa scored nine seconds into Hatcher’s interference penalty on Malkin. Hatcher also was off, for crosschecking, on Richards’ goal ” Flyers’ second short-handed goal in 14 playoff games and the first allowed by Pittsburgh in 11 games.
Crosby went six games without a goal before getting one in the Penguins’ 4-2 victory in Game 1, then put them up 1-0 with a power play goal midway through the first period ” only the second game in 41 dating to Nov. 24 that Crosby scored with a man advantage.
Crosby’s shot from the right wing boards eluded goalie Martin Biron through a tight opening inside the near post for his fourth playoff goal. Crosby’s only three power-play goals in the last 5 1/2 months are against the Flyers; he had two against them April 2 in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins thought they scored the second goal, too, as Sergei Gonchar’s backhander from along the goal line with the teams skating 4-on-4 late in the first deflected off Biron’s stick and Hatcher’s helmet and appeared to land down on its side across the goal line before Biron pushed it back.
Crosby, whacking at the puck from the side of the net, immediately put his right arm up to celebrate. But no goal was signaled on the ice, a call that stood because the NHL said its TV replays did not definitively show the puck crossing the goal line.
TV replays looked to show space between the on-its-end puck and the goal line.
The Flyers, apparently catching a break, tied on Jeff Carter’s power-play goal at 5:46 of second, his fifth goal but only his second on 10 games, after Pascal Dupuis drew a hooking penalty only 20 seconds after Pittsburgh killed off Hossa’s holding call.
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