With his skates finally untied and his equipment shed, Max Talbot took an extra second to soak in the emotion and glory of eliminating the Penguins team he had spent the last six seasons with before a low-ball offer sent him to the Flyers last summer.
All season, Talbot said he had a feeling the Flyers and Penguins would meet in the first round - an eventuality he was well-prepared to face.
Talbot just missed wide on an empty-net goal in the final minutes that would have been sweet icing on an emphatic but emotionally draining series. He finished with three goals and an assist in six games and was plus-5 in the plus-minus rating. All three of Talbot's goals were on special teams.
Talbot said the series win was incredibly satisfying, and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said that Talbot was a big part of the game-planning process.
"Max and I had a lot of conversations in my office," Laviolette said. "I think anytime you get a player that is well- versed on the opponent, you spend a lot of time with them. . . . Not only was Max great on the ice, maybe one day he'll make a great coach as well."
In the postgame handshake line, Talbot embraced a close friend and former teammate, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
"It's never easy to play against your friends like that," Talbot said. "But we competed."
When Scott Hartnell stood in a nearly empty Flyers locker room in Pittsburgh on Friday night, he said the Flyers needed to feel pain in order to finally give the Penguins the death knell on Sunday.
By the time it all ended, Kimmo Timonen was limping around with an ice pack taped to his leg. Defenseman Andreas Lilja had bruises all over his body. The list of black-and-blue marks up and down the Flyers' locker room would take longer to assemble than a dictionary.
A big key to the Flyers' win Sunday was their 40 blocked shots, the most by any NHL team in a playoff game in more than two springs. Their season-high this year was 28. As a whole, the Flyers blocked 116 shots in the series.
Rookie Erik Gustafsson led the way with seven blocks. Matt Carle and Lilja added another six apiece.
The Flyers went 1 for 3 on the power play Sunday, finishing 12 for 23 (52.2 percent) in the series. They set a franchise record for power-play goals in a series and scored at least one extra-man goal in each game.
"I think we wanted it really bad. I think guys paid the price. Everybody did," said Hartnell, who scored a first-period power-play goal on Sunday. "We took a lot of shots from different angles. I think we had two units that were going hard at it. The second unit has been getting better down the stretch the last few games of the regular season and again in the series."
Eleven Flyers had power-play goals in the series.