NHL: Penguins 4, Flyers 2
By Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH ó Losing on an Evgeni Malkin goal, or a Sidney Crosby goal, the Philadelphia Flyers might understand.
Losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins on fourth-line forward Max Talbotís goal will be very difficult for the Flyers to deal with, especially in a series that is quickly slipping away.
Talbot, a checking line forward on a team renowned for its stars, scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Penguins took a two-game lead in the Eastern Conference finals by beating the Flyers 4-2 on Sunday night.
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 giving away 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.
iWeíve played in a Game 7 where, if you lose, you go home,î said goalie Martin Biron, who made 34 saves. iGame 3 isnít like that, but itís as close as itís going to get. I think we played pretty good, but we can play better. Itís all about desperation and urgency.î
The Penguinsí game-winner came from a player who had missed the previous three games with a broken right foot.
iItís something special ó I was happy as a kid just to be back out there,î Talbot said. iIt was extra special to get the game-winner.î
Fitting that a player known as Mad Max scored the game winner in a peculiar game in which the Flyers scored short-handed and on the power play but couldnít score at even strength. Crosby got only his third power-play goal in 51/2 months.
iItís frustrating,î the Flyersí Mike Richards said. iThey got a couple of bounces.î
Still, Crosby said, iThat has been the story for the playoffs so far, those guys have stepped up. And by `those guys,í I mean, the guys on the third and fourth line have come up with some huge goals. They create a lot of momentum for us.î
Downie, scratched for Game 1, was inserted to give the Flyers more of a physical presence, but will be remembered for giving up the puck up on the decisive goal.
iTurnover, canít happen,î coach John Stevens said. iThatís a costly turnover there.î
Philadelphia, desperately trying to avoid going down two games against a team with Pittsburghís speed and talent, had tied it at 2 when Richards intercepted Evgeni Malkinís risky cross-ice pass on a power play, 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.
When Richards scored, the Penguins were pressing for a two-goal lead after Hossaís power-play goal at 13:43 of the second made it 2-1. Hossa scored nine seconds into Hatcherís interference penalty on Malkin. Hatcher also was off, for crosschecking, on Richardsí goal ó Flyersí second short-handed goal in 14 playoff games and the first allowed by Pittsburgh in 11 games. Pittsburgh is 10-1 in the playoffs.
iIíd like to see some consistency (in the officiating),î Stevens said. iWeíve got a couple of stars on our team, too. Derian Hatcherís been around the league for a long time and he knows how to defend. I canít be mad at Hatch.î
Crosby went six games without a goal before getting one in the Penguinsí 4-2 victory in Game 1, then put them up 1-0 with a power play goal midway through the first period ó only the second game in 41 games dating to Nov. 24 that he scored with a man advantage.
Crosbyís shot from the right wing boards eluded goalie Martin Biron through a tight opening inside the near post for his fourth playoff goal. Crosbyís only three power-play goals in the last 51/2 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 Goncharís backhander from along the goal line with the teams skating 4-on-4 late in the first deflected off Bironís stick and Hatcherís 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
The Flyers, apparently catching a break, tied on Jeff Carterís power-play goal at 5:46 of second, his fifth goal but only his second on 10 games.
Philadelphia, already without top defenseman Kimmo Timonen (blood clot), played most of the game with five defensemen after Braydon Coburn was struck in the face by Hal Gillís shot less than two minutes into the game. Coburn, struck near the left eye, left the ice bleeding and did not return.
iHe got a really bad gash in his forehead across his eye,î Stevens said. iItís pretty swollen and weíll have to reevaluate him when we get home.î
Notes: Pittsburgh is 8-0 in the playoffs when it scores first. … Richards has three of Philadelphiaís four goals in the series and seven overall. … Pittsburgh is 7-0 at home in the playoffs and has won its last 15 there.
By David Shaw Salisbury Post Just like that, the music stopped for Salisbury’s girls soccer team Saturday. After racing through... read more