Broken Foot No Problem as Talbot Scores Game Winner

The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.  Max Talbot, playing his first game back since breaking his foot in Game 3 against the New York Rangers, scored the game winning goal midway through the 3rd period.  The Penguins have become the 8th team in NHL history to go 10-1 in a playoff season, and the first team to do so since the 1995 Detroit Red Wings. 

In the 1st period, the Flyers were dealt some adversity less than 2-minutes into the game when defenseman Braydon Coburn took a puck to the face.  Hal Gill launched a shot from the left point that deflected up off from Evgeni Malkin’s stick and hit Coburn near the left eye.  Coburn dropped to the ice with his hands over his face.  Coburn, obviously cut by the puck, ended up leaving the ice with the help of a trainer and never returned to the game.  After a break to clean some blood off the ice, play resumed for a short bit before Tyler Kennedy and Scott Upshall dropped the gloves at 3:49.  Kennedy looked like a machine as he unloaded some wild swings on Upshall.  After falling to the ice and getting back up again for a little more dancing, the linesmen stepped in an stopped the fight.  At 10:48, just seconds after the expiration of a brief 5-on-3 opportunity, Sidney Crosby threw the puck on net to score a powerplay goal and take the lead 1-0.  Sergei Gonchar assisted on Crosby’s 4th goal of the post-season.  At 16:41 while skating 4-on-4, Sidney Crosby appeared to get his second of the night as he poked the puck at the side of the net, before Martin Biron swept it out of the goal.  The on-ice officials called no goal, but went upstairs and to Toronto to see if the video replay conclusively showed the puck crossing the goal line.  While it appeared to me that the puck had indeed cleared the line, it was ultimately ruled no goal by the NHL.  The Penguins went 1-for-3 on the powerplay and 1-for-1 on the kill in the first period, with shots even at 9 per side.   

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two
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In the 2nd period, the battle of the special teams continued as the Flyers evened the score on their 2nd of back-to-back powerplay attempts as Pascal Dupuis sat for interference.  Jeff Carter scores his 5th goal of the post-season from Joffrey Lupul and Jaroslav Modrey.  But at 13:43, the Penguins powerplay hit back as Marian Hossa swatted a rebound past Martin Biron for his 6th goal of the playoffs to restore the Penguins’ 1-goal lead.  Ryan Malone and Sergei Gonchar collected the assists on the play.  But while on the powerplay late in the period, Evgeni Malkin made an ill-advised cross-ice pass at the Flyers blueline that was picked off by Mike Richards, who skated it in on Fleury and beat him high on the glove side shorthanded to even it up at 2.  The Penguins outshot the Flyers 16-13 in the 2nd and were 1-for-3 on the powerplay, 1-for-2 on the penalty kill and gave up a shorthanded goal.  In the final period, the Penguins found a way to get it done 5-on-5.  The Penguins 4th line capitalized on a bobbled clearing attempt by James Dowd as the Flyers turned over the puck in their own end.  After the turnover, Georges Laraque took the puck and played keep away from a back-checking Sammi Kapanen before throwing it to the boards behind the Flyers net.  Gary Roberts raced in behind the net, collected the puck, and backhanded it into the slot onto the stick of Max Talbot who buried it in the net behind Biron.  Talbot’s goal at 8:51 from Roberts and Laraque ultimately proved to be the game winner.  The Penguins got the insurance goal at 19:31 as Jordan Staal put the puck into the empty net with Biron pulled in favor of the extra man.    Sidney Crosby and Sergei Gonchar were credited with the assists on the final goal.  The Penguins outshot the Flyers 134-10 in the final frame and were 0-for-1 on the powerplay. 
Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Image details: Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins – Game Two served by

Sidney Crosby (1G, 1A) and Sergei Gonchar (2A) each had 2-points on the night.  Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin now share the NHL post-season points lead at 17-points.  Coming off a 3-point performance in Game 1, Evgeni Malkin was held without a point in Game 2.  Marian Hossa (1G), Max Talbot (1G), Jordan Staal (1G), Ryan Malone (1A), Gary Roberts (1A) and Georges Laraque (1A) all finished the game with 1-point.  Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 2-of-32 for a 0.938 save percentage as he extended this post-season record to 10-1.  His 10-wins is a league best, as are his 2-shutouts.  His 0.937 save percentage in the post-season is just slightly behind league leader Chris Osgood with 0.939.

The Penguins travel to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Tuesday night, where they will hope to steal at least one of 2-games played there before returning home (if necessary).  The Penguins have kept the possibility of sweeping the Flyers alive, but they will face a big challenge and an unfriendly crowd in the next two games in Philly. 

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