Facing Former Team Will Be Surreal For Max Talbot

8 Dec

When the Flyers signed Max Talbot, they knew they were getting a good penalty killer. They did not expect to get a goal scorer. Through 26 games, Talbot has seven goals, including the one that started the Flyers’ comeback on Wednesday night. In 82 games with Pittsburgh last season, he had eight. His personal best is 13.

He plays like he’s been a Flyer his whole career, but Talbot actually has a special place in the Flyers’ rivalry with the Penguins on the other side. With the Flyers up 3-0 in Game 6 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Talbot fought then-Flyer Daniel Carcillo to get his team going. He lost the fight, but on the way to the penalty box put his finger to his lips and shushed the capacity crowd at the then-Wachovia Center.

From there, the Penguins scored five unanswered goals to win the game and thus the series. The Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. In Game 7 against Detroit, Talbot scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals.

Yet here he is a Flyer, and on Thursday, he’ll face the only other team he’s known in the NHL.

“Thursday is obviously gonna be emotional,” said Talbot. “That’s the team where I played six years. It’s gonna be pretty intense and pretty special for me to play against that team. I can’t wait to compete.”

There’s another Pittsburgh name that comes to mind when it comes to the Flyers and Penguins this year: Jaromir Jagr. But Jagr this will be Jagr’s 37th career game against Pittsburgh. His real test will come later in the month when he returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since not signing with them in the offseason where fans will surely greet him with a chorus of boo’s. But for Talbot, it’s his first career game against Pittsburgh.

Missing from the lineup will be one of his best friends, Sidney Crosby. He and Crosby and Co. are still close, but Talbot knows about the Flyers-Penguins rivalry first-hand from the other side. He knows that friendships will be left in the locker room come Thursday.

“We still talk once in a while,” Talbot admitted. “For this game though, we haven’t texted about this game. It’s gonna be fun.”

On Wednesday, Talbot sparked the furious comeback that ended in an overtime victory for the Flyers. On Thursday, he hopes to be just as effective.

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