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MAKE IT FOUR STRAIGHT

Flames yet to lose since calendar flipped, this time downing the Wild at the Scotiabank Saddledome Thursday with another huge performance by Talbot

by TY PILSON @typilson / calgaryflames.com

Two home wins.

Plus ...

Two road wins

Equals ...

Still undefeated in 2020.

The Flames won their second game in five days against the Minnesota Wild, beating the visitors 2-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Thursday night.

 

Video: Brendan Parker wraps up the win

 

Despite the low score, the game earned top marks for entertainment value.

It was fast, it was physical, it had it all.

There were tons of shots (80 total), plenty of scoring chances at both ends of the ice, and more stellar play by Cam Talbot between the pipes.

Two days after he made 31 saves in a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago, he stopped an incredible 42 shots - many of the highlight variety - to improve to 5-2-0 in his last seven starts.

Talbot entered the night with the NHL's second best Sv% since Dec. 1 (minimum six starts) at .938.  

Derek Ryan, with his eighth of the season, and Johnny Gaudreau, with his 12th of the campaign, provided the offence on the night for the Flames.

Talbot was tested early in the contest, flashing the leather for a spectacular glove save on Joel Eriksson Ek just 30 seconds in.

On the Flames next trip down the ice, Andrew Mangiapane rifled a shot on the fly on a 2-on-1 that Wild goaltender Alex Stalock stopped, but laid out on his belly he lost the rebound, Mangiapane getting two whacks at the puck beside the left post but unable to get it over or under the goalie's outstretched left pad.

Minny was whistled for too many men at 2:45, giving the homeside a nice early powerplay.

They took advantage of the gift.

With six seconds left on the PP, Ryan set up in the high slot between the hash marks and deftly tipped a Noah Hanifin point shot up and over Stalock into the top far corner.

Mikael Backlund got the other apple.

 

Video: MIN@CGY: Ryan redirects shot past Stalock for PPG

 

A few minutes later, right off the faceoff, Luke Kunin got the puck and snapped a wrister that beat Talbot but not the post, clanging and deflecting out of harm's way.

With the period winding down, Talbot figured that first glove save was pretty good and all - but he had better.

He absolutely robbed Calgary boy Matt Dumba, who was parked right beside the net and one-timed a cross-crease pass from Victor Rask that looked like a sure-thing-goal, however Talbot fired across the crease and snagged it with his glove, leaving both Wild players looking up and shaking their heads.

The Flames had the better of the scoring chances in the period, holding a narrow 17-14 edge in shots but finishing the period with 66.67% of the scoring chances and a Corsi-for of 54.55%.

Mats Zuccarello tied it up 38 seconds into the second stanza, finding himself wide open near the Calgary blueline and taking a long pass from Stalock, then skating in all alone and wiring one far-side. 

The Flames went on their second powerplay 1:22 into the period, getting two great chances.

First, Wild defenceman Carson Soucy got his stick out to deflect a rebound shot attempt by Sean Monahan who was staring at yawning cage, then Stalock made a big glove save of his own on a shot by Gaudreau.

Speaking of the Dynamic Duo, another installment of the long-running and wildly popular Johnny and Mony Show put the Flames up 2-1 at 9:38.

Gaudreau took possession in the Calgary zone and skated it up, dishing to Monahan who drove wide into the Wild zone, passing back to No. 13 who was skating in down main street and kicked the puck up to his stick in one motion and fired it five-hole.

 

Video: MIN@CGY: Gaudreau kicks puck to stick, nets snap shot

 

Rasmus Andersson - who signed a new deal with the team Wednesday - also got an assist.

Later in the frame, Talbot made another 10-bell save, slamming his pads shut lightning quick after an errant puck careened out of the corner right onto the stick of Wild captain Mikko Koivu who parked at the top of the blue paint and one-timed it. 

Stalock then took his turn, denying Monahan and Gaudreau on two successive opportunities.

Talbot rounded out the period by turning aside an offering from Kevin Fiala, who burst inbetween the defence for a great shot.

The third featured a bevy of top-flight cracks by both teams but there was no more scoring.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: CAM! pic.twitter.com/9ke5ZzG16s

 

THEY SAID IT:

TALBOT ON HIS 42-SAVE EFFORT:

"There was a lot of action at both ends. Stalock played a heck of a game as well. I thought we could have had a few more, but those games are always fun when the other guy's making a big save, you know you have to answer right now. That's two big points for us tonight and it was a lot of fun."

TALBOT ON FOUR-GAME WINNING STREAK:

"That's huge. To keep this streak going. We've got - what - four more games before the (bye week/all-star) break and we're trying to separate ourselves from teams below us and catch the teams above us. We know these games are going to be huge coming up, and it's just nice to string a few together here and keep it going."

 

Video: "There was a lot of action at both ends"

 

TALBOT ON HEAVY WORKLOAD:

"Whenever you can feel the puck early, it's always a good thing. Tonight, I felt it early and often and just tried to limit their second and third chances, because they're so good in front of the net their D are so good at getting those pucks through. I thought our guys did a great job tonight limiting their second chances and tying up their sticks."

GAUDREAU ON COMBINED 80 SHOTS ON GOAL:

"Good chances for both teams. Goaltenders were playing well. That's a lot of fun. For me, personally, I'd like to see us score a few more goals, but their goaltender played well and so did ours. It was a good game, fun to play in."

 

Video: "That's a lot of fun"

 

DEREK RYAN ON WINNING TIGHT GAMES:

"It's encouraging that we're winning some games 2-1 and play a little better defensively. And obviously Cam stood on his head, too. ... I thought we came out a little flat here tonight, but we were able to stick with it - Cam held us in it. We got a goal early and that kind of got us going. They're a tough team to play against, Minnesota is. They lock it out pretty good and kind of frustrating, so I thought we did a good job sticking with it, staying with the game plan. That was a big goal by John at the end of the second and then I thought we did a good job in the third coming out and playing a good, solid third period."

 

Video: "They're a tough team to play against"

 

GEOFF WARD ON TALBOT'S GAME:

"I think he's anticipating the play in front of him right now, so he's able to get himself square to the puck before the shot arrives. ... I'm sure he sees anything the size of a BB in front of him right now with how he's moving. Because he's able to establish his position so well in the crease, a lot of pucks are hitting him."

 

Video: "It's a nice problem to have"

 

READ MORE IN SAY WHAT: 'THAT'S A LOT OF FUN'

 

ONE-TIMERS:

The Flames have a record of 13-12-3 against Western Conference, and are 7-6-2 against the Central Division ... Monahan is now two points from 400 in his career. When he hits that mark, he will become only the 14th player in Calgary Flames franchise history to reach it ... Talbot is nine starts shy of 300 during his NHL tenure ... Gaudreau is one point away from catching Jim Peplinski (424) for the 11th most points in Calgary Flames franchise history.

 

THE LINEUP:

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Your @Schneiders starters this fine Thursday evening 🔥 pic.twitter.com/PHLBrihKJJ

 

The trios and D-pairings to start tonight's game:

FORWARDS

Matthew Tkachuk - Elias Lindholm - Andrew Mangiapane

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube

Zac Rinaldo - Mark Jankowski - Sam Bennett

DEFENCE

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson

GOALTENDER

Cam Talbot

 

NEXT UP:

Battle of Alberta. Saturday evening. Hockey Night in Canada.

Hard to beat that! The Flames host their provincial rivals at 8 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome (click here for tickets). It's the second of five matchups between the clubs this season.

After that, the Flames hit the road for a three-game Eastern Canadian swing, beginning in Montreal on Monday, followed by stops in Toronto on Thursday and a matinee with the Senators on Saturday.

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