January 10, 2020 / 5:02 AM / 19 days ago

Talbot, host Flames knock off Wild

EditorsNote: Corrects to ‘ensuing’ breakaway in penultimate graf; other minor edits

Jan 9, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) and teammates take the ice for the warm ups prior to their game against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal near the midway point of the game was the game winner and goaltender Cam Talbot sparkled in net as the host Calgary Flames won their fourth straight game, a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Talbot started consecutive games for only the second time this season, and delivered a 42-save performance to earn first-star honors.

Talbot delivered timely stops such as one on Matt Dumba in the waning seconds of the first period, a cross-crease save on Jonas Brodin shortly after his team took the lead, and then his most important by denying Kevin Fiala with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Talbot made 14 saves in both the second and third periods.

Gaudreau’s goal ensured Talbot’s performance didn’t go to waste.

Gaudreau led the rush up ice, sent the puck to Sean Monahan and received it back as he hit the high slot. The pass actually went into his feet, but Gaudreau kicked it to his stick and buried a quick shot at 9:38 of the second period for his 12th goal of the season.

Gaudreau struggled through much of the first half of the season, but he has netted two goals and six points in the last five games.

Calgary’s Derek Ryan opened the scoring with a power-play goal before the five-minute mark of the first period. Ryan was parked in the slot when he deflected Noah Hanifin’s point shot into the top corner for his eighth goal of the season.

However, Wild forward Mats Zuccarello evened the count 38 seconds into the second period. Seconds after Minnesota failed to convert on a power play, goaltender Alex Stalock caught the Flames on a line change by sending a pass to Zuccarello at the far blue line, and he promptly wired a top-corner shot on the ensuing breakaway for his 11th goal of the season.

Stalock made 35 saves for the Wild, who are on a 1-3-1 skid.

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