Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers
 

Been through this before

Max Talbot knows what it takes and is no stranger to deep playoff runs

Friday, 04.27.2012 / 9:06 PM / News
By John Kopp  - PhiladelphiaFlyers.com
X
Share with your Friends


Been through this before
It may be unfair to anoint any 28-year-old a sage, but as far as playoff hockey goes, Maxime Talbot is as wise as any player in the Flyers’ dressing room.

Talbot has played in 72 postseason games in his seven-year NHL career, mostly courtesy of his success with the Pittsburgh Penguins. So, a layoff following the first round was nothing new to him.

Two years ago, Talbot said, the Penguins were waiting on a series between the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens to finish up. As the series reached its seventh game, Talbot was pulling for Montreal.

“I was cheering for them because I wanted to go back home and have a chance to play in front of my family,” said Talbot, a native of Lemoyne, Quebec. “And Montreal was not supposed to be that good. We ended up losing in seven.”

Talbot had no shortage of opponents to root for this year. With the three other Eastern Conference quarterfinal series each going the maximum distance, the Flyers waited until early Friday morning to learn their next opponent will be the New Jersey Devils.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals begins at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.

After his rooting interest two years ago backfired, Talbot told himself he’d never again cheer for another team come playoff time. Plus, none of the Flyers’ six potential opponents could have matched the personal connections Talbot had with the Penguins, whom he left for Philadelphia last summer.

“It was special,” Talbot said of the series after practice this week. “But it was something that I was ready for. It was intense. It was emotional and I’m glad we won.”

That polite but quick response, which came to a question he undoubtedly had been asked numerous times in the preceding days, was evidence that Talbot’s focus had shifted to preparing for the next series.

“It’s good to get some rest, refocus, refuel and get ready for Round 2,” Talbot said. “I really don’t mind that little break. I think momentum doesn’t really carry from game to game in a playoff series, so I really doubt it carries from series to series.”

That may be so, but the Flyers are counting on the defensive-minded Talbot mimicking his performance from the opening round, when the center collected three goals and an assist while finishing plus-5. Two of his goals came were short-handed.

Still, Talbot’s offense was something of a bonus. His line mainly was charged with slowing Evgeni Malkin, the likely Hart Trophy winner. The Flyers were successful at that with the exception of Game 4, when Malkin scored two goals and an assist in a 10-3 Pittsburgh blowout. Malkin scored just one goal and four assists in the other five games, not exactly the kind of performance the Pens expected from their most valuable player.

“As a line we talked a lot about it and how we played him,” said Sean Couturier, who primarily covered Malkin. “(Max) was really motivated. He really wanted to win. He helped us a lot. He knew a lot of their players and knew some tendencies. Just letting us know some of the little stuff they do made us prepare better.”

The line’s next task likely will be defending Devils forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. They may not be Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but they sure don’t struggle to find the back of the net. Kovalchuk finished fifth in the league in scoring with 83 points (37 goals, 46 assists) while Elias notched 78 points (26 G, 52 A).

Talbot also will be commissioned with keeping them quiet on the power play, where Kovalchuk and Elias each scored 29 points, tying for fifth in the NHL. During the regular season, the Flyers held the Devils to five power play goals on 31 opportunities.

“On the penalty kill, I’d put him at the top of the league,” rookie Matt Read said. “He’s so smart out there and he’s always giving direction to everyone else who is penalty-killing. He sees the game differently from a lot of other people. He’s very helpful to myself when we’re on the penalty kill together.”

Throughout the season, the Flyers relied heavily upon rookies like Read. That didn’t change against the Penguins, as seemingly every newbie took a turn in a starring role. Talbot said beating the Penguins provided a jolt of confidence for the rookie-laded Flyers.

“They have a great team, so I think for us to have played them in Round 1 is definitely a huge experience for a lot of the young kids and even for guys like me,” he said. “It kind of gives you a little mental (edge) that, OK, we really believe in ourselves. That’s always something good.

“I think in the playoffs, you need to build something, not only on the ice, but mentally in the dressing room you need to prove yourself things. I think by winning the series we proved to ourselves that we’re a really solid team.”

As a center who reached the Stanley Cup Finals in back-to-back seasons with the Penguins, Talbot knows the recipe for a deep playoff run. He said there’s a lot to like about the Flyers, who received strong play from both rookies and veterans alike last series.

“I like our room,” said Talbot, who scored the Cup-clinching goal for the Penguins in 2009. “I like the way we play. I think we have four solid lines. We have a solid D-group that stepped up. The young guys. … Veterans that are coming back. I can name a lot of things but it’s definitely something that can help us down the road.”

What Talbot doesn’t want to see is a repeat performance of the Flyers’ opening periods in Games 1 and 2. Their comebacks from multiple-goal deficits were thrilling, but that’s not a successful formula in the spring.

“Those starts would be something we still need to address and talk about it,” Talbot said. “But after that, you look at Game 6 over here and I thought we played 60 minutes of solid hockey. We played offensively when we needed to and we protected the lead when we needed to. … I think if we play like that for the games to come, I like our chances, because it was a pretty solid effort.”

It doesn’t take a sage to know that.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2014 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.