Talbot's late-second goal gives Penguins life in Game 5

Updated: June 3, 2008, 10:57 AM ET

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Max Talbot scored with 34.3 seconds left in regulation to send Game 5 to overtime.

GAME 5'S DEFINING MOMENT

DETROIT -- On a night of a dozen moments that appeared to be ones that would define the season, the one that stood out for the Pittsburgh Penguins wasn't the winning goal in triple overtime by Petr Sykora (although that turned out to be a pretty big moment for Sykora and the club).

But the Penguins never would have gotten there had it not been for Max Talbot, a player quickly achieving folk-hero status in Penguins circles.

With his wild hair and eyes, his take-no-prisoners style of play, Talbot might not have been your first choice to send over the boards when the Penguins pulled Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra attacker with about a minute left in regulation while trailing 3-2. But that's who coach Michel Therrien tapped to head into the Detroit Red Wings' zone.

The strange thing about this game- and series-saving goal with 34.3 seconds left in regulation was it almost went for naught when Evgeni Malkin, enduring yet another dreadful night, sent a blind backhand onto the stick of a Detroit defender.

But the puck never left the zone. Instead, Marian Hossa directed a Sidney Crosby pass toward the Detroit net. Chris Osgood made the initial save, but Talbot spied the loose puck, jumped past Johan Franzen and whacked once, then twice to get the puck over the line and send the game to overtime.

"It's a feeling. Coaches got feelings sometimes," Therrien told reporters after the game. "It's rare -- it doesn't work all the time -- but I love Talbot's game.

"He was on the puck. He's got a lot of energy. And one thing you know, you want to put the puck at the net, and he was always around the net. And, honestly, it was more of a feeling than anything."

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.


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GAME 5 BREAKDOWN

GAME 5 -- THREE STARS

Fleury

Marc-Andre Fleury
The bottom line: The Penguins don't make it to overtime if Fleury doesn't give them a chance to get there. The goalie made 55 saves, including 24 in overtime, to send the Stanley Cup finals to Game 6.

Ryan Malone
Malone didn't have any points in Game 5, but he makes our list after taking a puck to the nose late in the second period. A deflected shot hit Malone, who left the ice bleeding before returning to action at the start of the third period. Malone's return was symbolic of the Pens' gritty road win.

Henrik Zetterberg
In the losing effort, Zetterberg had two assists, seven shots on goal and 37:55 of ice time.

GAME 5 -- SUIT CHALLENGE

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You decide who wins, so vote here now.

E.J. HRADEK'S TAKE

Yesterday's hero is today's goat. Jiri Hudler, who scored the Game 4 winner, was careless with his stick in the third overtime. He was rightfully handed a double minor for high-sticking Rob Scuderi.

• Read more from E.J. Hradek's blog Free