MONTREAL — Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has delivered since he was acquired by the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline. Fellow netminder Cam Talbot has also raised his game since the deal.
Talbot made 26 saves for his third shutout of the season in Minnesota’s 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
He's pleased that his strong play of late has come as the Wild try to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"It means that much more," Talbot said. "I thought that we came out extremely hard and I was able to make a big save there right at the end of the first period and then kept it a one-goal game.
“You need saves like that throughout the game. I think that kind of settled us down a little bit more in the second and it definitely settled (me) down too."
Kevin Fiala scored and assisted on Matt Boldy's third-period goal as the Wild improved to 48-21-7.
Talbot has gone 11-0-3 since March 3 while Fleury has a 5-1-0 mark since arriving in Minnesota.
"We have two top goalies and for us it doesn't really matter who plays," Fiala said. "We're confident with both of them."
The Wild opened the scoring on the power play at 6:57 of the first period. Fiala one-timed Mats Zuccarello’s pass in the slot to net his 30th goal of the season and seventh in his last six games.
Minnesota padded its lead at 2:29 of the third period when Boldy tucked the puck between his legs and scored from a tight angle.
Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal. He said he felt more comfortable in his second start of the season.
"That was the big part of coming back, being able to gain some confidence and play in these last few games," Price said. “There’s nothing that can replicate reps like this so being able to come back is a pleasure and beneficial for my game."
The Canadiens (20-46-11) have yet to score a goal two games into Price’s comeback.
"I think we proved that when we’re on our game we can play against pretty much everybody but you need the whole team on board," said Canadiens interim coach Martin St. Louis. "If you’re missing players it’s tough but we were all there.
"The first four (or) five minutes were tough but we were able to regroup and we played a really good game. We just didn’t score."
The Canadiens threatened in the second period but couldn’t find the back of the net. Rem Pitlick had a great chance on a breakaway but was denied by Talbot.
Tyler Pitlick thought he scored his first goal in a Habs uniform by shooting a loose puck in an open net. However, Minnesota used its coach’s challenge for goaltender interference and the goal was called off.
Notes: Nicolas Deslauriers played his 500th career game. The Lasalle, Que., native had several friends and family members in attendance. ... Canadiens forward Paul Byron suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2022.
Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press