Talbot Shines in Seventh-Straight Win
When a team’s best player is unable to play, it’s easy to lose hope.
Following Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens, it was evident that, that wasn’t the case with the injury depleted Philadelphia Flyers.
The team, currently riding a seven-game winning streak, announced during Thursday’s game that their captain, Chris Pronger, will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 regular and post-season due to post-concussion syndrome.
As if that wasn’t enough, the team is also anxiously awaiting the return of leading scorer Claude Giroux, who is also missing time with a concussion.
With many beginning to question whether the Flyers will be able to remain competitive without the aide of their best players, it has become crucial for the team to prove that the sum is more important than their parts.
However, it is also important that individual role players step up and help carry the load.
On Thursday night, Max Talbot was one of those players.
Talbot was brought to Philadelphia this offseason to add character, grit and leadership to a young team. He was also viewed as a capable penalty killer, who played a pivotal role on last season’s most successful penalty kill.
While he certainly has met all of those expectations, the 27-year old forward has surprised many with his ability to produce points, most specifically, score goals.
Against the Canadiens, Talbot scored his second goal in as many games and the third in his last five.
In 2010-11, Talbot scored eight goals and registered a total of 21 points in 82 games. In only 30 games this season, he has already surpassed his goal total and is six points away from his point total from last season.
Make no mistake, he still excels at the grittier side of the game and displayed this in his ability to eat-up ice-time.
Playing a total of twenty minutes on Thursday night, the Lemoyne, Quebec native was second only to Scott Hartnell for most minutes amongst Flyers forwards. It was the third most minutes Talbot has logged in any game this season.
In addition, he played seven minutes on the penalty kill, which included an extended shift on a two-minute, five-on-three at the end of the first period.
Talbot played almost every second of the kill, which ended with the Flyers one-goal lead still in tact. He even ended a Montreal power play at the end of the second by drawing a tripping penalty immediately after the penalty kill began.
In order for the Flyers to continue to succeed they will need individual role players to step up and handle a little bit more than they are used to.
While Giroux and Pronger both specialize in their ability to do multiple things at a masterful level, it’s crucial that the players on the roster realize that they don’t have to try and replicate what Giroux and Pronger do.
By doing their jobs and doing them well, the team is still deep enough to win games. Talbot didn’t have to dangle through four Montreal defenders or put up a four-point night. He just did what he does best.
While it may not be as flashy as a Giroux goal, no body pays attention to how you get a win, they just pay attention to the fact that you got it.