Talbot plays key role as Avalanche get better of Flames
Maxime Talbot finally got his name on the score sheet as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Talbot scored the tying goal and set up the go-ahead score 54 seconds later in the second period to propel the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.
It was Talbot’s first goal in 16 games with the Avalanche since being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 31 for forward Steve Downie.
"It’s about time. I waited a lot of games for this," Talbot said. "After this goal, you have 50 pounds off your shoulders."
Colorado tied the game 1-all by capitalizing on a mistake by Calgary goalie Karri Ramo, who had been superb until that point.
Ramo was playing the puck behind the net, and his soft backhand pass intended for T.J. Brodie was intercepted by John Mitchell. He zipped a pass to Talbot who had an empty net to shoot at with 2 minutes left in the period.
"I just played it to the wrong side. I should have played it to the backhand," Ramo said. "They got momentum and scored three goals, so it was a big game-changing moment there."
Talbot made a terrific play on the same shift as the Avalanche took the lead for good.
He muscled defenseman Chris Butler off the puck with an aggressive forecheck and took the puck to the net, drawing Ramo toward him before sliding a pass to a wide-open P.A. Parenteau, who made it 2-1.
"Even if you take away the goal and the assist from my game tonight, that’s the best I’ve felt with the Avs," Talbot said. "I had good legs, I was strong on the forecheck. I may not score every night, but being first on pucks is what I should be doing and tonight I was doing it, so it feels good and I need to keep building on that."
Talbot plays an integral role for Colorado regardless of whether he’s scoring or not.
"I’m so happy for Max. When you score, you feel such relief," coach Patrick Roy said. "He’s been playing hard. He’s been playing big minutes for us, penalty killing — that line tonight was really good."
Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon scored his sixth goal to round out the scoring for Colorado, which bounced back after getting routed 8-2 on Thursday night in Edmonton.
"It was really important. We talked about it this morning as a team, about learning from the game last night and putting it behind us, and that’s exactly what we did," Talbot said.
Kris Russell and Matt Stajan scored for Calgary, which had won two straight.
"It’s a disappointing loss," captain Mark Giordano said. "We weren’t moving like we were in the first and they capitalized on some breakdowns. We’ve got to find a way not to give up those close goals."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 stops to improve to 7-0-0 and continue his outstanding season as Semyon Varlamov’s backup. It was Giguere’s second victory against the Flames, having stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 3-2 win at Denver on Nov. 8.
"The guys did everything that they were asked to do tonight and it makes everybody’s game so much easier," Giguere said. "We played well, kept most of it on the outside. I was able to see the pucks really well tonight. I was able to freeze it and not give up too many rebounds and when there was a rebound, guys were battling in front."
Ramo, coming off consecutive starts in which he gave up just one goal, made 22 saves and fell to 4-5-1.
On the heels of impressive wins over Los Angeles and Phoenix, Flames coach Bob Hartley was disappointed with how the game got away from his club.
"Those two goals really set us back on our heels," he said. "In the third period, they scored that early goal and then it was tough to play catch-up hockey."
Colorado surged in front 3-1 at 2:28 of the third period on the third goal in four games for MacKinnon.
Calgary was on the rush but when Lee Stempniak’s stick broke on his shot attempt, the Avalanche headed back up ice and Gabriel Landeskog found MacKinnon alone at the side of the net for the score.
The Flames got a late goal from Stajan when he redirected Mike Cammalleri’s pass in with 1:55 left.
Calgary scored the only goal of the first period, connecting on the power play at 7:01.
With Stempniak providing the screen, Russell’s slap shot from the blue line found the corner behind Giguere, who was upset after the play, saying Stempniak had interfered with him.
Giguere was so mad he shoved the net over, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
NOTES: LW Lane MacDermid made his Flames debut. MacDermid was acquired Nov. 22 from Dallas for a sixth-round draft pick. … Missing for Calgary was C Joe Colborne (flu) and LW Brian McGrattan (lower body). … Not in the lineup for Colorado was D Jan Hejda (knee), who was hurt in the loss to the Oilers. … A perfect 17-0-0 when scoring first, the Avalanche improved to 3-7-0 when allowing the first goal.