Maxime Talbot had been waiting for his first goal as a member of the Colorado Avalanche to come, and while it took a bit longer than expected, the tally came at a key time.
With Colorado down 1-0 to Calgary late in the first period Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome, the Avs needed a spark and Talbot helped light it.
John Mitchell cut off Flames goalie Karri Ramo's pass at the end wall and threw the puck to the middle of the slot where Talbot was waiting. The puck was bouncing a bit on the ice, but Talbot controlled it and fired a shot into the far side of the net to knot the game at one.
"It feels good to get my first goal as an Av," Talbot said. "I waited a long time for it, and it definitely feels good to put one into the back of the net."
Said Mitchell: "The goalie made a mistake and played it to me and Max was right at the perfect position. Stick down, waiting for a pass. It was perfect."
The goal was Talbot's second of the season and ended a 21-game goal less drought. Talbot was acquired in an Oct. 31 trade with Philadelphia and last scored on Oct.11 as a Flyer.
"I'm so happy for Max," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said. "I think when he scored he felt so relieved. I was so happy for him. He's been playing some big minutes for us, penalty killing, that line tonight was really good."
And Talbot's line wasn't done yet.
Instead of going to the bench for a quick rest, Roy left his third line on the ice to try and generate some more momentum going into the third period.
The line did more than create momentum as it struck again 56 seconds later and flipped the score to the Avs favor.
Again, Talbot was in the middle of the scoring sequence as he delivered a check on Chris Butler behind the Calgary net, forcing the puck to come loose. Talbot grabbed the open puck and attacked the front of the goal before passing it to the slot for PA Parenteau, who fired a shot past Ramo.
"You're feeling good," Talbot said of the Avs' second tally in less than a minute. "You're happy about the goal, you keep working and it worked out good for our second goal on the line."
The Avs found their game in the second period after the Flames came out with a strong first period effort and led 1-0 at 7:01 of the contest.
Despite being outshot 11-7 in the opening period, Colorado finished the frame strong and continued that momentum into the second period. The Avalanche outshot the Flames 14-7 in the middle stanza and, maybe more importantly, stayed out of the penalty box.
"We were disciplined," Talbot said. "We managed the game a little bit more. It's tough to gain momentum when you take penalties. So in the second we played more of our game, played with the puck and played in the offensive zone because that is where we are going to score some goals."
Colorado scored twice in the final two minutes of the second period and then scored again at 2:28 of the third to quickly turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead.
"I thought we played better in the latter of the [first] period, and in the second we were very solid," Roy said. "In the second period we played really well."
The Calgary Flames made it interesting in the end, but the Avalanche used a team defensive effort in the final minutes to hold on for the 3-2 victory.
Matt Stajan scored for the Flames while their goalie was pulled with 1:55 remaining to get Calgary back to within one score, but that would be as close as it would get.
On the ensuing faceoff, the Avs played a stingy defense and didn't allow the Flames to move the puck up the ice for over a minute. It wasn't until about 40 seconds left that Ramo was able to head to the bench to give Calgary the extra attacker.
The Flames did get one last scoring chance, but the Avs played close to the puck and didn't allow a shot during the sequence.
MORE POSTGAME NOTES
-Nathan MacKinnon scored the Avalanche's third goal of the night and it held up as the game winner. MacKinnon's sixth tally of the season marked his third game-winning goal, tying him for the team lead with Matt Duchene.
-John Mitchell had two assists, tying his career high for a single game for the sixth time in his career. He now has four assists in the last three games.
-Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 saves and remained unbeaten on the season at 7-0-0. The victory for Giguere adds to his franchise record of consecutive wins to start a season. Five of the netminder's wins have come on the road.
-Gabriel Landeskog assisted on MacKinnon's third period goal and now has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four games. He has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 career games against the Flames.
-Defenseman Jan Hejda returned to Denver Friday for further examination on a knee injury he suffered in the first period of Thursday's game in Edmonton. Hejda was replaced in the lineup with Cory Sarich, while his usual defensive partner, Erik Johnson, played with Nate Guenin for much of Friday's game.
-The Avs improved to 17-0-0 when leading after the second period.