Penguins center Max Talbot joked Saturday after his club's playoff series-clinching 5-3 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wachovia Center that he was not sure he'd live to see his two-year contract extension, signed early in the regular season.
"I played with him in the minors; I know he's a tough cookie," Talbot said of his second-period fight with former Penguins prospect and Flyers left wing Daniel Carcillo.
Talbot ended up with a black eye to show for his effort — but that exchange of fists was praised by several Penguins players for sparking a rally from a three-goal deficit.
"It's no little thing," right wing Bill Guerin said. "It's a big thing."
Added captain Sidney Crosby: "Anytime a guy puts himself on the line like that, you want to follow that up."
Talbot admitted guilt played a role in his decision to engage Carcillo. His defensive-zone turnover was converted by the Flyers into a late first-period goal and a 1-0 deficit for the Penguins.
That deficit became 3-0 at 4:06 of the second period on Flyers center Danny Briere's power-play goal. Talbot fought Carcillo 15 seconds later.
"I felt responsible for that first goal, and I knew I was not going to score three goals after that, so I had to do something to make up for it and help my team," Talbot said. "I thought a fight could be something."
The Penguins scored three goals in a span of 12 minutes and 38 seconds after Talbot's fight with Carcillo, including their first — a crease-crashing tally by left wing Ruslan Fedotenko at 4:35.
"It was one of those moments where (we were like), 'Whoa, what just happened?'" Briere said. "All of a sudden it gave them life."
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