CALGARY – Maxime Talbot finally got his name on the score sheet as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
The 29-year-old scored once and assisted on another as Colorado edged the host Calgary Flames 3-2 on Friday.
“It’s about time, I waited a lot of games for this,” Talbot said. “After this goal, you have 50 pounds off your shoulders.”
Talbot’s goal was his first in 16 games as a member of the Avalanche since being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 31 in exchange for forward Steve Downie.
The Lemoyne, Que. native scored at 18:00 of the second period to tie the game 1-1. The goal was the result of a mistake along the end boards by Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, whose soft backhand pass intended for T.J. Brodie was intercepted by John Mitchell. Mitchell promptly zipped a pass to Talbot who had an empty net to shoot at.
“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.”
Later that same shift, Talbot made a terrific play as the Avalanche took the lead for good. He muscled defenceman Chris Butler off the puck with an aggressive forecheck and set up P.A. Parenteau.
“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.”
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said he was happy for Talbot, who plays an integral role regardless of whether he’s scoring or not.
“I’m so happy for Max. When you score, you feel such relief,” Roy said. “He’s been playing hard. He’s been playing big minutes for us, penalty killing, that line tonight was really good.”
Rookie Nathan MacKinnon scored his sixth goal to round out the offence for Colorado (20-7-0).
Kris Russell and Matt Stajan scored for Calgary (10-14-4), which had won two straight.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “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 in the Colorado net to improve to 7-0-0 and continue his outstanding year as Semyon Varlamov’s back-up. It was his second victory against the Flames, having stopped 30-of-32 stops in a 3-2 win in Denver on Nov. 8.
“The guys did everything that they were asked to do tonight and it makes everybody’s game so much easier,” said Giguere.
Talbot also mentioned the importance of the win after an 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
“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.
“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,” added Giguere.
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. In the third period, they scored that early goal and then it was tough to play catch-up hockey,” Hartley said.
In his third consecutive start, Ramo had 22 saves to fall to 4-5-1.
Calgary scored the only goal of the first period connecting on the power play at 7:01.
With Stempniak providing the screen, Russell’s slapshot from the blue-line found the corner behind Giguere, who was furious after the play claiming Stempniak had interfered with him.
Giguere was so mad about the play he shoved the net over, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Notes: It was career win No 258 for Giguere, tying him with Ken Dryden for 44th on the NHL’s all-time list… 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 line-up for Colorado was D Jan Hejda (knee), who was hurt in the loss to the the Oilers…A perfect 17-0-0 when scoring first, the Avalanche improve to 3-7-0 when surrendering the first goal…Calgary led after one for only the fifth time (2-2-1).