DENVER – The offensive stars of the Colorado Avalanche get most of the attention, but none of them can brag like teammate Maxime Talbot.
The third-line forward lived every hockey player’s dream by scoring both goals in a 2-1 win in Detroit in Game 7 that gave the young Pittsburgh Penguins the Stanley Cup title in 2009.
Instead of living off that night, Talbot chooses to focus on the now.
“I never really talk about my experience with Game 7,” Talbot said. “Yes, you share it when people come to talk to you about it, but I always thought I’d rather do it again. I feel until I win again or I retire I’m never going to be satisfied.”
Instead, he’s trying to repeat that success with the young Avalanche team. He sees similarities in this year’s squad and the 2008 Penguins, who had a stable of young stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but little playoff experience. Pittsburgh lost in five games in the first round of the 2007 postseason but a year later reached the Cup Final, losing to Detroit in six games.
Guys like Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny aren’t at the level of Crosby and Malkin, but they do remind Talbot of his former teammates.
They were certainly the stars Saturday, combining for 10 points in a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of the playoff series against the Wild.
“We’re a young team, we’re a hungry team. It reminds me of 2008,” Talbot said. “Those guys were hungry, they wanted to learn and play hard every night. Here we have a lot of young stars, not a lot of experience, but you can take that as a bonus where guys just go out there and play and have fun.”
Talbot has been having fun since coming to Colorado for Steve Downie in a trade with Philadelphia on Oct. 31. Talbot scored seven goals for the Avalanche and eight overall this season, tied for his lowest output for a full season since he had five as a rookie in 2005-06.
He doesn’t care. Being on a winner matters more.
“It’s a shock to be traded. … But when I knew it was Colorado I got a little smile and was excited to be here,” he said.
Talbot fit right in with the Avalanche.
“They knew me from my junior days,” he said. “Mario Duhamel, the video coach, coached me when I was Pee Wee. They knew me very well and they said play like Max Talbot can play. Obviously, it’s being responsible defensively, bring a lot of emotion and bring my experience to the table.”
He was playing his game Saturday. Early in the first period, he threw Wild center Charlie Coyle out of the crease after goalie Semyon Varlamov covered the puck, and at the end of the period he got into a shoving match with some of the Wild.
The Avalanche is in short supply of playoff experience, but as Talbot knows, it’s not always a requirement for success.
“It helps in some ways, but you don’t need the experience to win,” he said.
He wouldn’t mind having a similar finish to 2009.
“It was cool … I’d like the chance to hoist the Cup again,” he said.