Avalanche rebound with win over Flames

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- Left winger Maxime Talbot discovered a great way to lose a significant amount of weight.
With his first goal as a member of the Colorado Avalanche 16 games since his trade from the Philadelphia Flyers in late October, the hard-working left winger shed about 50 pounds with two minutes to play in the second period of a 3-2 Avalanche win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.
The Avalanche were down a goal to the Calgary Flames when Talbot took advantage of a bad decision by opposing goaltender Karri Ramo and turned a pass from center John Mitchell into a wide-open net to tie things up.
"It's about time. I waited a lot of games for this as an Av," Talbot said of his second goal of the year and first since Oct. 11.
For good measure, Talbot set up the go-ahead goal 54 seconds later by stealing the puck on the forecheck, attacking the net and creating a rebound chance for right winger PA Parenteau to give the Avs the momentum heading into the second intermission.
"I feel like right after the goal, you've got 50 pounds off your shoulder," said Talbot. "Your head is a little bit more high, and the play slows down for you."
Rookie center Nathan MacKinnon scored what turned out to be the winner 2:28 into the third period, collecting a rebound from captain Gabriel Landeskog's shot and snapping it into the open side of the Flames' net with Ramo unable to get across in time.
"We weren't moving like we were in the first and they capitalized on some breakdowns," said Flames defenseman Mark Giordano. "We've got to find a way not to give those close goals. Two goals ... pretty close together, we've got to eliminate that. It's a disappointing loss."
Although Ramo played well for most of the night, making 22 saves, he took the blame for mishandling the puck on Talbot's goal.
"I just played it to the wrong side. I should have played it to the backhand. They got momentum and scored three goals, so it was a big game-changing moment there," Ramo said. "It's hockey. Mistakes cost goals. My overall game was all right, but those mistakes are what counts and I have to avoid those."
The Flames were looking for their first three-game win streak of the season and the Avalanche were hoping to rebound from an embarrassing 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
It looked promising for the Flames early on as they took advantage of a lack of discipline from the Avalanche to rack up an 11-5 edge in shots and a 1-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.
With Mitchell in the penalty box for holding 12:59 minutes into the game, Flames defenseman Kris Russell sent a long shot from the point past Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had a difficult time seeing it because Flames right winger Lee Stempniak was parked at the top of the crease.
Giguere knocked over his net after unsuccessfully protesting to the referee and took an unsportsmanlike penalty to give the Flames another power play.
It was Russell's fourth goal of the season and 14th point in 28 games this year.
Flames left winger Michael Cammalleri fed center Matt Stajan for a goal that cut the lead to 3-2 with an extra attacker on the ice in the dying minutes, but Calgary couldn't get the equalizer.
The bounce back from Thursday's game was key for the Avs.
"It was really important. We talked about it this morning as a team, about learning from the game (Thursday) night and putting it behind us," said Talbot, who played his best game as an Av.
Getting offensive contributions from the gritty veteran made his teammates happy as well.
"He's been a great teammate to everybody. He's been working extremely hard. It's good to see him being able to contribute offensively," said Giguere, who improved to 7-0 on the season in limited action behind starter Semyon Varlamov. "I think it was weighing on him a little bit. You could tell he was getting frustrated."
NOTES: The Avalanche played without D Jan Hejda, who returned to Denver on Friday to have his right knee checked out. Hejda played just 3:47 in Edmonton on Thursday before leaving with the injury in the first period. ... LW Lane MacDermid played his first game with the Flames since being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Nov. 22. He dropped the gloves with LW Cody McLeod. ... Avalanche backup G Jean-Sebastien Giguere started his eighth game of the season a night after G Semyon Varlamov allowed eight goals in a loss to the Oilers in Edmonton. ... With a first-period goal, Flames D Kris Russell ended a three-game point drought. He had points in five of his previous seven games before the cold snap. ... With C Joe Colborne out with the flu and RW Brian MacGrattan nursing a lower-body injury, the Flames had to dress D Derek Smith as a fourth-line winger.

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