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Remembering Max Talbot’s first career NHL goal: from the red line, against the Flyers


Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Happy Sunday. I’m here, you’re here, so let’s go a little light and look back to the happy memory of Max Talbot’s first career goal in the NHL. All first goals are special and memorable, and hoo boy, this one takes the cake.

Talbot battles for a faceoff at center ice and just flicks the puck in as his fourth line (Andre Roy and Ryan Vandenbussche sightings!) immediately goes to the bench for a change. The game was in Philadelphia and these guys were probably mismatched by the Flyers having the last change and just instructed to get back to the bench as soon as possible.

Well, Talbot went one better. His clearing effort ended up being on target and unbelievably found it’s way past the long legacy of wonderful Flyer goaltending, Antero Niittymaki in this case, to tie the score at 5.

Talbot’s even almost off the ice before everyone realizes that, somehow, he has beaten the goalie and scored a goal.

This game, October 14, 2005, happened just a few games into the lockout season (thus why “thank you fans” is on the ice) and capped the Penguins coming back from being down 5-1 mid-way through the second period all the way back to a 5-5 tie.

Unfortunately, like most of Pittsburgh’s 2005-06 season, it wouldn’t have a happy ending. Defensive defenseman Mike Rathje somehow scored a power play goal in overtime to give Philly the win and drop the Pens to an 0-1-4 record. Pittsburgh would get to 0-4-5 before finally recording their first win of the season in the 10th game (woof). Sebastien Caron gave up OT goal, coming in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury who was pulled after giving up four goals in the early going.

Sidney Crosby scored a goal (only the second of his career at the time!) and added an assist in his first trip to Philadelphia. And while that game was the start of Crosby’s mastery of Philadelphia, it also sadly was the close of another chapter. Mario Lemieux played, chipping in two primary power play assists. No one knew it at the time, but this would actually be the final time Le Magnifique ever played an NHL game in the city of brotherly love. John LeClair scored his first ever goal for the Pens, against the Flyers team he’s most remembered for playing with, which is still weird and icky to write even 15 years later.

But Max Talbot will always remember this one as the first goal in his 11-year NHL career. Probably not the way anyone draws up scoring their first, but it still counted just the same.

Then again, how can you doubt a superstar and future Stanley Cup hero like Talbot — who knew what he was doing the whole time, if you take his word for it, wink wink;