Tag Archives: Max Talbot

Flyers’ Lead Collapses As Rangers Take Winter Classic

2 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Everybody showed up. Even Mother Nature. But the Flyers left early and let the Rangers take the lead from them and eventually win the Winter Classic 3-2 at Citizens Bank Park.

When the game began, there was a lot of hesitation and understandably so with the unique surroundings. The Flyers had trouble with the Rangers so far this season, losing both of the first two games of the season. But after the first 20 minutes, the Flyers finally got the better of the Rangers thanks to disciplined play and strong forechecking. After outshooting the Rangers 12-8 in the first period, the nerves appeared to calm in the second stanza and finally the Flyers took the first lead of the year over New York.

With Brayden Schenn already playing a strong game, starting in the faceoff dot, his time finally came. He has dealt with three injuries already this season and finally his hard work paid off. He scored his first NHL goal at 12:26 of the second period.

Schenn won the faceoff back to Matt Carle. Trying to avoid the puck leaving the zone, Carle blindly threw the puck on net. It gave Henrik Lundqvist trouble and he gave up an uncharacteristically big rebound, which Schenn found for an easy tally.

“It’s a positive step, definitely,” said Schenn. “It seemed that every time I’d get a break, it wouldn’t go in. This one landed right on my stick and I was fortunate to get it in. I think I can use it as a positive step.”

It was the second time a Flyer had scored his first NHL goal in a Winter Classic. Danny Syvret accomplished the same feat at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic.

Two minutes later, the Flyers doubled their lead. Max Talbot found a streaking Claude Giroux. He had two defenders draped on him, but it didn’t matter. He deked around them, and Lundqvist, and went top shelf on the Rangers’ goalie.

At one point, it even started to snow. The stars looked aligned for the Flyers.

“Yeah, it was pretty cool,” said Giroux. “Obviously you want it to snow a little bit in the Winter Classic. It kind of reminds you of when you were a kid and it didn’t snow very much, but it did a little bit.”

“We felt great,” said Braydon Coburn. “We just wanted to keep applying pressure and get another one. We could feel like we had a little bit of momentum there and we just wanted to keep rolling.”

Instead, it backfired. The Flyers lost their lead. Less than a minute after Giroux’s goal, the first wheel came off. Mike Rupp found himself with the puck in the high slot and used Andrej Meszaros as a screen to beat Sergei Bobrovsky low glove side for his second goal of the season.

While the score looked good after two periods, the Flyers were without Jaromir Jagr. A left leg injury kept him from returning after his second shift of the second period. He returned only to take a seat at the end of the forwards’ section of the bench. Although he returned with the team for the third period, he didn’t play another second.

The meltdown continued in the third perod. Rupp scored again 2:41 into the third when he came in along the left wing and beat Bobrovsky on a puck that squeezed between the goalie and the post.

“We didn’t want to get behind and we did,” said Rupp. “I think it was another example of [why] I like our room. We don’t give up, we don’t hang our heads and we just kept working at it and chipping away.

“I think you could see at the end there, it became pretty difficult. The ice started to wear a little bit and we were just trying to flip pucks in and make it hard on them.”

The Rangers took the lead three minutes later when Giroux left his man, Brad Richards, and the Ranger forward put a rebound past an already beaten Bobrovsky to give the Rangers the lead. It was a familiar spot for the Flyers to be down to the Rangers and their comeback attempt wasn’t successful one.

Even though Ryan McDonagh gave the Flyers a chance by covering up the puck inside the crease for a penalty shot, the Flyers couldn’t convert with 19.6 seconds left. Rangers coach John Tortorella said the penalty shot call was “disgusting,” but it didn’t matter since Danny Briere couldn’t convert. He tried to go five-hole on Lundqvist and missed.

“He’s pretty good at breakaways and shootouts,” said Giroux. “He’s been doing it his whole career and at the same time, Lundqvist is pretty good too. He’s pretty big in his net. We can’t put ourselves in that situation, being down 3-2 with 20 seconds left. We’ve just gotta put it behind us now and learn from it.”


Flyers Pour It On Without Claude Giroux

13 Dec

WASHINGTON — Who needs a Hart Trophy candidate and a future Hall of Famer? Apparently, not the Flyers. In the absence of Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger, the Flyers made it look easy against the Washington Capitals, pouring it on in a 5-1 win.

Whenever the Flyers have dealt with injury this season, and the current total for man games lost now stands at 73, other players have simply stood up and taken the onus. Despite all the injuries, the Flyers’ winning streak now stands at six, tying their high from last season.

“I thought [it was] one of our better team games,” said Peter Laviolette. “Start to finish, all lines, all defensemen, goaltender, we had everybody going. I was really happy with it.”

Scott Hartnell extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-high six games to kick off the scoring and the Flyers never looked back. Despite dealing with early pressure from Washington, the Flyers were able to rely on Ilya Bryzgalov who made 31 saves and got his 14th win of the season.

In the second period, the Flyers did their damage with three more goals, taking over the contest with offense by committee. They outshot the Capitals 12-10 in the second period, but chased starting goalie Tomas Vokoun.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said Washington defenseman Karl Alzner. “No one wants to do that, especially at home. You’d like to play a little bit better than this. It’s a tough one for us. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and watch some video of the mistakes we made, because they’re pretty obvious to us. We’ve just got to go over them and remember them and be more aware next game.”

It appeared as though Jody Shelley had his first goal of the season when he deflected a shot by Marc-Andre Bourdon, but it was ruled that Capitals defenseman Mathieu Perreault tipped it behind the goalie. It was Bourdon’s first NHL goal, to no surprise of his coach who has liked what he’s seen.

“He’s been rock solid,” said Laviolette. “His head is up. He makes a good first pass. He’s been physical. He looks really comfortable out there. His opportunity of some minutes has grown to increased minutes to someone we now count on and rely on. It’s good for him.”

Wayne Simmonds continued his recent success with his fourth goal in his last five games on a deflection from an Andrej Meszaros shot. Max Talbot added his eighth of the year, but he can thank Braydon Coburn for helping him out. Alex Ovechkin entered the Flyers’ zone and Coburn smothered his effort, stripping him of the puck, tying him up along the boards and sending the Flyers on the offensive.

“He’s a talented player and you try to keep the best gap you can on him,” said Coburn. “He’s got a bag full of moves and I feel lucky.”

The third period saw each team add a goal, but the Flyers don’t really mind that. As much as they like the two points, they really proved that their depth is what is most impressive about this year’s team. Thirteen of the 18 skaters found the scoresheet in a win that proved the Flyers are deeper than just one player, even if it is the NHL’s leading scorer.

“It says a lot about this team,” said Jaromir Jagr. “I wasn’t very confident about today’s game when we lost the best player in the league. It’s not easy to play without him. We have to play the same way and the guys stepped up.

“I thought we played all-around. All four lines played good hockey and that’s what you need when you’re missing players like that.”

Facing Former Team Will Be Surreal For Max Talbot

8 Dec

When the Flyers signed Max Talbot, they knew they were getting a good penalty killer. They did not expect to get a goal scorer. Through 26 games, Talbot has seven goals, including the one that started the Flyers’ comeback on Wednesday night. In 82 games with Pittsburgh last season, he had eight. His personal best is 13.

He plays like he’s been a Flyer his whole career, but Talbot actually has a special place in the Flyers’ rivalry with the Penguins on the other side. With the Flyers up 3-0 in Game 6 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Talbot fought then-Flyer Daniel Carcillo to get his team going. He lost the fight, but on the way to the penalty box put his finger to his lips and shushed the capacity crowd at the then-Wachovia Center.

From there, the Penguins scored five unanswered goals to win the game and thus the series. The Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. In Game 7 against Detroit, Talbot scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals.

Yet here he is a Flyer, and on Thursday, he’ll face the only other team he’s known in the NHL.

“Thursday is obviously gonna be emotional,” said Talbot. “That’s the team where I played six years. It’s gonna be pretty intense and pretty special for me to play against that team. I can’t wait to compete.”

There’s another Pittsburgh name that comes to mind when it comes to the Flyers and Penguins this year: Jaromir Jagr. But Jagr this will be Jagr’s 37th career game against Pittsburgh. His real test will come later in the month when he returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since not signing with them in the offseason where fans will surely greet him with a chorus of boo’s. But for Talbot, it’s his first career game against Pittsburgh.

Missing from the lineup will be one of his best friends, Sidney Crosby. He and Crosby and Co. are still close, but Talbot knows about the Flyers-Penguins rivalry first-hand from the other side. He knows that friendships will be left in the locker room come Thursday.

“We still talk once in a while,” Talbot admitted. “For this game though, we haven’t texted about this game. It’s gonna be fun.”

On Wednesday, Talbot sparked the furious comeback that ended in an overtime victory for the Flyers. On Thursday, he hopes to be just as effective.

Flyers Complete Another Comeback Over Buffalo

7 Dec

If you’re having déjà vu, the Flyers have acted this script before. If fact, they did it on Friday. But they had a repeat performance on Wednesday, erasing a three-goal deficit to come back and win 5-4 in overtime over the Buffalo Sabres.

Although the Flyers seem to have a knack for this whole comeback thing, it looked so ugly early on that it wasn’t even a thought. The Flyers were outshot 9-3 in the early going, until former Flyer Ville Leino made it a 1-0 game.

Braydon Coburn had his pocket picked by Luke Adam. Adam backhanded to Zack Kassian who made the touch-pass to Leino who had a wide open net as Bryzgalov had already committed to Kassian. It was Leino’s third goal of the season, but fourth point in his last three games.

From there, it didn’t get any better for Bryzgalov who allowed two questionable goals. One was from Kassian who used Marc-Andre Bourdon as a screen. The other came on a Buffalo power play when he couldn’t hold the post against Thomas Vanek’s shot.

But instead of waiting for Peter Laviolette to make a first-intermission speech, Max Talbot scored on a buzzer beater to make it a two-goal game and start the comeback early.

The intra-conference rivalry heated up even more in the second period, when Marc-Andre Bourdon was called for boarding on a hit on Nathan Gerbe. For that he had to answer to Matt Ellis, and the Flyer won the fight.

Goalie Ryan Miller didn’t like that he had Flyers invading his crease. His own defenseman, Brayden McNabb, knocked his helmet off and Miller took a puck to the face as a result. With Miller rattled, the Flyers continued to strike.

The Flyers scored two goals in the second stanza to tie the game, both thanks to screens of the goalie. Jaromir Jagr untied it with an incredible toe drag to avoid Andrej Sekera and used the defenseman as a screen to beat Miller up high.

In the third period, the Flyers shut the door, playing more defensive hockey, but controlling the puck for the majority of the period. That is, until Drew Stafford scored from the slot to tie the game and force overtime. But the Sabres made a costly mistake in the extra session.

Marc-Andre Gragnani tried a cross-ice pass that was picked off by Claude Giroux who became the NHL’s scoring leader when he beat Miller five-hole on a breakaway.

The comeback script is one the Flyers have played out a couple times now and the third time in team history that they have accomplished that twice in a single season. They’ll have to hope it didn’t take too much out of them because even though they’re without Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins are waiting for them for a Thursday night game.

Flyers React To NHL Realignment

6 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — Some Flyers were on top of the news. Others needed to be informed after practice. Next year, the Flyers’ schedule will look a lot different and so will the standings.

The NHL Board of Governors voted a new alignment on Monday night that adds the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes to the Flyers’ division. Right now it’s known as “Division D,” but that, along with a few more details, has yet to be determined. But from what they know now, the Flyers are excited about the prospect of realignment.

“It’s gonna be different, but it’s gonna be good,” said Max Talbot. “I’m glad that they were able to keep most of the same rivalries in the same conference or divisions. I think it’s gonna be a little bit more traveling for the Eastern Conference teams, a little bit less for the Western.

“Just looking at the votes, the way the owners and the GMs voted, 26-4 I think, it means it was probably the best they could do. It’s gonna be interesting.”

The schedule format will be that teams will play every conference opponent six times and play every non-conference team twice, home-and-home. When that was explained to Ilya Bryzgalov, his first reaction was about the road games.

“You know what, man? That’s much more travel,” said Bryzgalov. “Damn, man.”

It will be more travel, but right now the Flyers have it the easiest in terms of travel for any team in the NHL.

“Obviously if we add more travel, it’s going to be hard,” added Kimmo Timonen. “Because our travel now, it’s really good. But whatever they do, they do. It’s really out of our hands. But I don’t mind the way things are right now, but obviously they have to do something with Winnipeg. So whatever they do, we take it.”

Travel aside, the division rivalries will be heightened even more, not that any of the current Atlantic Division teams needed help getting up for those games. The Washington Capitals in particular will now be under the microscope even more.

“I think that’ll be interesting for rivalries, for sure,” said Braydon Coburn. “I know from past experience anytime you play a team in the playoffs, it seems to breed bad blood. It just seems like in that kind of format you end up maybe playing some people in consecutive years in playoffs and I think that would really conjure up some fierce rivalries.”

Flyers See Winnipeg Game As A Hiccup

20 Nov

VOORHEES, N.J. — Peter Laviolette says he’s moved on. Danny Briere says the Flyers need to hit the reset button. There’s something about the Winnipeg Jets this season that the Flyers can’t seem to overcome.

In Saturday’s 6-4 loss north of the border, the Flyers allowed three power play goals to the Jets. They took three penalties in the first period, the first one only three and a half minutes into the game. But in the scope of an entire 82-game season, the Flyers see their effort, especially on the penalty kill, as a hiccup.

“You can be the best penalty-killer in the league, sometimes it’s going to happen in a game where you allow [three] goals,” said penalty killer Max Talbot. “You got a hot power play, you got a bad bounce, and it’s going to happen.”

Half of the Flyers’ penalty kills were because of stick infractions. They took two hooking penalties, a crosscheck and a slash. That’s part of what the Flyers were working on in recent games.

“I was one of the culprits [Saturday] taking bad penalties,” said Briere who had a pair. “Sometimes you get a bad game like that. It’s basically one of those games where you hit the reset button and try to go back to what we were doing. Lately I thought we were much better, especially in the Phoenix game. Florida we did a good job.

“We’ve just got to go back to doing that again. If we don’t take as many penalties, we’re gonna give ourselves a great chance to win every night.”

The Flyers are tied for the league lead with the Jets with 105 minors. They’ll try to reverse the trend against Carolina. The last time they played the Hurricanes, they won 5-3 but took seven minor penalties. Before Saturday, they had killed off 17 straight penalties.

“Our penalty kill has been real good for us,” said Laviolette. “We’ve done a better job of a lot of different things – taking care of the puck, staying out of the box. It didn’t go our way [Saturday] night, and we’re looking forward to [Monday].”

The focus then will be staying out of the sin bin.

“We’ve talked about it since the beginning of the year,” said Talbot. “We all know what discipline is. We were undisciplined.”

Twice on Saturday there were strange occurrences with the penalties. Briere was whistled for a penalty at the same time as a Winnipeg goal and later in the contest was called for a penalty in the same stoppage as when Matt Carle went off for holding. Both are rare situations and raised a few eyebrows for those that think the Flyers are held to a different standard by NHL officials.

“If it is that way, I think down the road it makes us a better team,” said Briere. “It forces us to control our emotion a little better and sometimes we have to hit the reset button and go back to basics. A game like [Saturday] night is a perfect example.”

The button will be pressed against Carolina, a team the Flyers have enjoyed success against recently. They have won four straight against the Hurricanes and are 16-1-2 in their last 19 games.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but Carolina’s one of those teams where we seem to get the bounces,” said Briere. “We seem to have a lot of confidence against them each time we play them as well. Hopefully that trend continues because we need to get back on track.”

Unexpected Scoring Has Flyers Atop The League

8 Nov

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers weren’t supposed to be able to score. The loss of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter was supposed to be too much to overcome. Don’t tell them that. On Saturday night, they spanked Carter’s new team with nine goals. It was the third time in their 14 games that the Flyers had scored seven or more.

“It’s pretty ridiculous to think in a two-week span we’ve scored in games like that,” said James van Riemsdyk who has scored four goals in his last four games. “You don’t ever really see that, ever. That’s pretty crazy, but those are pretty fun games for the forwards to play in anyway.”

It’s not just the forwards. Chris Pronger was the Flyers’ leading scorer after a few games and blueliners have chipped in five of the Flyers’ 56 goals. Across their 14 games, the 56 goals gives the Flyers an average of four per game, best in the NHL.

At the beginning of the season, the question was where the offense would come from. The team is making it clear that the answer is everywhere.

“I don’t think anybody expected that. Obviously we lost a lot of firepower,” said Danny Briere who has four goals in the early going. “But a lot of guys are stepping up. Right here, Jaromir [Jagr], helping us a lot in that department. A lot of young guys are stepping up, like [Wayne] Simmonds, Sean [Couturier] who has five. That’s very impressive. Everybody has more responsibilities in that department. It’s good to see.”

The Flyers are used to relying on one or two guys — guys like Briere — to carry the bulk of the load. If Briere had only four goals at this point last year, the Flyers probably would have been in trouble. (He had eight through 14 games last year.) But he has half of that now and the Flyers are on top of the league in terms of scoring.

Claude Giroux has taken the reigns of the team with 15 points, but there are five other players who are in double digits in points. There are unlikely contributors like defensive-minded rookie Sean Couturier who has five tallies. Defenseman Matt Carle already has three goals.

Yes, it’s early on in the season, but the balanced scoring and where it has come from has surprised many.

“I think a lot of people are [surprised] because the expectations were, ‘Oh, what’s going to happen with the offense because this team lost two offensive-gifted players,’” said Max Talbot who has scored five goals so far this year. “Am I surprised? Yes and no. I know we have skill here. We have talent. We made some great additions with Jagr and [Jakub] Voracek and Simmons. G obviously has been playing amazing with Jagr and it’s been good offensively, that’s for sure.”

There were a lot of questions and eyebrows raised after general manager Paul Holmgren carefully orchestrated an offseason that brought in players compatible with coach Peter Laviolette’s forecheck-heavy system of offense. Now, the plan is coming together and the coach is seeing his vision unfold.

“I think we have a talented group in here,” said Laviolette. “We’ve got a defense that can move the puck efficiently. I think we’ve got a good balance on the lines. Certainly some of the players have done a really good job of generating offense, but I think it comes from a balance of everybody.

“There’d be nights when we wish we could score, and maybe it’s not going our way, but I think that there’s an overall belief that we’ve got a good group in here.”