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Talbot, Downie facing former teammates

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forward Maxime Talbot is looking forward to playing against his former Philadelphia Flyers teammates Thursday at Pepsi Center.

The teams are playing for the first time since the Avalanche acquired Talbot from the Flyers in exchange for forward Steve Downie on Oct. 31.

Talbot has three goals and six assists in 28 games since the trade and has been one of the Avalanche's top penalty killers. The Avalanche have gone 14-10-4 since the trade and enter Thursday in third place in the Central Division.

"It's fun," Talbot said. "I look forward to these games. It's exciting. You play against 20 guys that you battled with and that you know, the coaching staff, everybody. So it's always exciting and a little bit of fun. You look forward to it."

Talbot has spent most of his time in Colorado on the third line, but coach Patrick Roy put him on a unit with Matt Duchene, who leads the Avalanche in scoring with 16 goals and 36 points, and Jamie McGinn in the third period Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The trio will be together again Thursday.

"We're trying to get more offense," Duchene said. "We're just trying to shake the tree a little bit. I know what type of players these guys are and what to expect. It's not really a big deal. They're both guys that are north/south players that can make plays, so I've enjoyed the times I've played with them. These guys are going to go to the net hard, and I'm going to try to get pucks there for them and hopefully we'll get a couple of ugly goals."

Though Talbot said he is excited about playing against his former team, Downie downplayed his return to Denver.

"I haven't really put too much thought into it," he said. "My focus has been on trying to help [the Flyers] win games. It's just another game to get a win."

Downie has two goals and 10 assists in 23 games with the Flyers and has missed six games because of injuries. The Flyers have gone 17-8-4 since the trade to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division. They've won four straight and are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Avalanche:


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Scott Hartnell - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Steve Downie - Sean Couturier - Vincent Lecavalier

Jay Rosehill - Adam Hall - Zac Rinaldo

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Luke Schenn - Andrej Meszaros

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Hall Gill, Chris VandeVelde

Injured: Erik Gustafsson (knee), Matt Read (upper body)

Notes: Flyers forward Matt Read will miss the game because of an upper-body injury he sustained in the first period Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. His spot in the lineup will be taken by Jay Rosehill, who has been a healthy scratch the previous nine games.


Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Ryan O'Reilly

Maxime Talbot - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn

Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon

Brad Malone - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Erik Johnson - Jan Hejda

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Ryan Wilson - Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Nate Guenin, Nick Holden

Injured: PA Parenteau (knee), Alex Tanguay (knee, hip)

Notes: Though Avalanche center Paul Stastny said he's "excited" about playing on the United States Olympic team for the second time, he's disappointed for defenseman Erik Johnson, who wasn't selected. "I thought he had a really good shot," Stastny said. "It's a bummer for him. I was hoping we'd be able to go together."... Johnson is having a solid season with six goals, 17 points and a plus-10 rating in 39 games. "Probably the most disappointing fact is I didn't expect to make it at the beginning of the year, but with how well I've played these first three months put me back into the mix and into consideration," Johnson said. "The hardest part is knowing that I couldn't have done anything more as far as my play. It's disappointing but at the same time my focus is on this team now and I'll use that two-week break to recharge and get ready for the playoffs."

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