There was a lot of hype surrounding the return of Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot to the city where both started their NHL careers as the Pens and Flyers continued their heated rivalry at CONSOL Energy Center Thursday night.
Pens fans cheered Talbot and gave him a loud ovation as a tribute video dedicated to the former Pen was played on the Big Screen. Talbot obliged the reception by standing and saluting the crowd.
“It meant a lot,” Talbot said of the tribute. “The Penguins organization is just really classy. I obviously want to thank them for that. They could have just done nothing. But they showed their class by doing that for me. Obviously it felt real special and the fans reacted really well. It was a special moment for me.”
The crowd was less pleasant to Jagr, booing him every time he touched the puck. However, it was Jagr who scored a critical goal in the second period to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead. Jagr carried the puck through the slot and fired a backhander into the net. He followed that by giving his patented salute, to the displeasure of the fans.
Talbot also got on the board with 25 seconds left, scoring on an empty-netter for his 10th goal of the season.
played one of his best games of the year, recording a goal and an assist for a two-point game.
Kennedy helped the Pens get off to a hot start by setting up the game’s opening goal just 44 seconds after the opening puck drop. Kennedy made a diving play on a puck behind the Philadelphia goal, swatting the puck to Jordan Staal
at the side of the cage. Staal’s quick shot eluded goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to give Pittsburgh the early 1-0 lead.
In the third period, the Pens were trailing 3-1 and needed a goal to get them going. Kennedy took a pass from Malkin and wound up for a booming slap shot from the near circle that blistered over the shoulder of Bobrovsky to make it a one-goal game with 6:29 left in the third.
"'Geno' made a great pass over and I just saw an opening and I just tried to bury it," Kennedy said.
Kennedy now has a career-high 5-game scoring streak with 7 points (2G-5A) in that span.
Though the goal ignited the crowd, it wasn’t enough as the Pens couldn’t manage to score the equalizer in the final minutes of the game.
"That was a huge goal," James Neal
said. "The second that thing goes in it gives us a huge boost. It was just some tough plays and a few missed opportunities. It’s a tough one to swallow. We got to go back to work tomorrow and keep getting better."
Center Evgeni Malkin
set the plate for Kennedy’s third-period goal. The assist extended Malkin’s point streak to 9 games for a total of 19 points (6G-13A).
Author: Sam Kasan