Cam Talbot prevailed in a goaltending duel and Johnny Gaudreau scored the game-winner for the Calgary Flames in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Talbot repelled 42 shots for back-to-back wins after his 32-save performance in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
“His positioning and his anticipation are very good right now,” Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. “I’m sure he sees anything the size of a beebee moving across (or) in front of him right now.
“Any time you can hold a pretty good hockey team to one goal against, it’s a good thing, you’ll take it. The fact we’ve been able to do it two games in a row is nice.”
Derek Ryan also scored for the Flames (24-17-5) in their fourth win in a row.
Mats Zuccarello countered for the Wild (20-16-6), who are 1-3-1 in their last five.
Minnesota goaltender Alex Stalock had 35 saves in the loss and an assist on Zuccarello’s goal.
“There was a lot of action at both ends,” Talbot said. “Stalock played a heck of a game as well.
“I thought we could have had a few more (goals), but those games are always fun when the other guy is making a big save and you know have to answer right back.”
Calgary remained tied for third in the Pacific Division with the Edmonton Oilers, who were 4-2 winners Thursday over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Flames are at home to the Oilers on Saturday.
“We’ve got four more games before the (all-star) break,” Talbot pointed out.
“We’re trying to separate ourselves from teams below us and catch the teams above us. These games are going to be huge coming up and it’s nice to string a few together here.”
Minnesota outshot Calgary 29-20 in the final 40 minutes of the game, but couldn’t solve Talbot even with Stalock pulled for an extra attacker at the end of the game.
“You can’t afford to miss as many Grade-A chances as we missed,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Talbot was good, but there were so many we just missed.
“There was no doubt if Talbot could see it, he was making the save, but definitely after the halfway mark of the second period when they took the two to one lead, they had very few chances and we had an awful lot.”
Gaudreau scored the eventual game winner at 9:38 of the second period on a give-and-go with Sean Monahan.
Gaudreau corralled Monahan’s pass with his right skate blade and then beat Stalock with a quick-release wrist shot from the slot.
The left-winger has six points in his last five games.
“Chances for both teams,” Gaudreau said. “For me personally, I’d like to see us score a couple more goals, but their goaltender played well and so did ours.”
Trailing 1-0 and outshot 17-14 after the first period, Zuccarello pulled the visitors even 38 seconds into the second.
From behind his own net, Stalock threw the puck up ice to Zuccarello at Calgary’s blue-line for a breakaway.
The Norwegian beat Talbot with a high wrist shot. Stalock collected his fourth career assist.
Calgary’s Ryan deflected a Noah Hanifin slapshot upstairs for a power-play goal at 4:39 of the opening period.
The Wild are at home to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.