Cam Talbot will draw on his experience, including his time as backup to Henrik Lundqvist, when the Calgary Flames try to avoid elimination against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round.
Calgary trails the best-of-7 series with Game 6 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the West, on Thursday (10:30 ET; NBCSN; CBC, SN, SN360, TVAS).
“Going back to watching Hank, his process never changed,” Talbot said of Lundqvist, his teammate with the New York Rangers. “He came to the rink, he prepared the same way every game. That’s what you have to do this time of year. You can’t change things because you’re facing elimination or you have the chance to eliminate a team. I think your consistency and preparation is what got you here and what you have to continue to do to move forward.
“That was the biggest thing, seeing a guy like that take it one game at a time and the entire team taking it one game at a time. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Talbot played two seasons behind Lundqvist from 2013-15, and twice witnessed the Rangers rally from 3-1 down to win a series: against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round in 2014, and against the Washington Capitals in the second round in 2015.
“I think that’s what makes him, and has made him one of the best for so long, is his preparation, his mentality,” Talbot said. “It never changed. It never wavered no matter what happened the game before. He’d let in seven and go out and post a shutout the next game. Nothing ever seemed to faze him. You have to have that mentality and that motivation every single game.
“Watching him, and we had so many other veteran guys on that team, that drove us. We were down 3-1 in two of the series I was there, they were pretty special comebacks.
“We’ve got an opportunity here to do something special with this group. I’m just looking forward to being a part of it.”
Talbot started 22 of 70 games for Calgary this regular season but took over the No. 1 job from David Rittich this postseason, starting each of the nine games.
Talbot is 5-4 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, including a 57-save overtime loss to Dallas in Game 4 and a 35-save shutout in Game 3.
This series was tied 2-2 before Dallas won Game 5 2-1 on Tuesday. Four of the five games were decided by one goal (Calgary won Game 3, 2-0).
Talbot helped the Edmonton Oilers reach Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round in 2017.
“The fact that he’s got some experience is good,” Flames coach Geoff Ward said. “How much will he rely on it will be up to him. Do I think he’s going to be comfortable in the net tomorrow? Absolutely, 100 percent. It’s nothing that’s new to him.
“So we feel like he’s going to be ready to go. That’s a good thing for our hockey team. When he’s on he gives our guys a lot of confidence.”