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Talbot takes responsibility for struggles; Evason has “full confidence” in his starter

The Wild’s starting netminder knows the bounces will start going his way

Minnesota Wild v Ottawa Senators Photo by Chris Tanouye/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite losing his last three starts, Cam Talbot knows that NHL hockey is a game of bounces, and they’re due to start going his way soon. That’s not to say that the Minnesota Wild’s starting netminder doesn’t take responsibility for his team’s recent struggles... on the contrary. Talbot knows that with a couple more saves, the Wild might be in a slightly better place on the scoreboard and in the standings.

“You can say we’ve been a little bit loose in our zone of late, but we usually find ways to outscore those mistakes, and the past couple of games we haven’t been able to do that,” Talbot told reporters on Wednesday. “It comes down to maybe an extra save or two on my part, and maybe we walk out of there with a few more wins, feeling a little bit better about ourselves.”

Talbot acknowledged that, while some of Ottawa’s four goals Tuesday night had some fluke value to them, Thomas Chabot’s goal that put the Senators up 1-0 on the first shot of the game was all on him.

“The first goal just needed a save,” Talbot admitted. “(Chabot) had time, and I was expecting him to make a better shot that that and he goes straight through me. If it goes through me then it’s a stoppable puck.”

Head coach Dean Evason was more charitable on that goal, and on Talbot’s play as a whole. “When a guy like Chabot walks right down the gut with absolutely nobody in front of him, that’s not Cam’s fault. Somebody in our defensive coverage effed up. Would we like the goaltenders to make a save when we mess up? Sure. But it doesn’t always happen that way.

Evason added, “There’s no question, we don’t put it on our goaltender.”

Evason says the staff and team believe in Talbot, and he understands Talbot takes a lot on himself.

“Cam is such a professional. I’m sure he’s not happy. But because he’s a professional and he’s so dialed in - he will be and still is - we have full confidence and no concerns over Talbot, that’s for sure.”

Talbot owned up to his issues, and understands why the time share in net has been back-and-forth lately.

“It’s obviously not easy to get in a groove when you’re flip-flopping every day (with backup Kaapo Kahkonen), but I mean right now he’s playing really well and I haven’t had my best the last few games. Can’t fault the coaches for doing what they’re doing. So I’m going to continue to work on my game, get better in practice, work hard and do what I do and focus on my next start, whenever that is.”

Talbot believes the bounces will start to go his way soon: “I’ve been getting some pretty bad ones lately, and at some point the hockey gods are going to reverse those and I’ll be back in the win column... I just can’t catch a break right now, but those are goign to start going the other way for me - I know they will.”

As for the team, Talbot believes they’re close to turning things around: “I think overall there’s a few things we can tighten up. I just think getting back to our game for a full 60 minutes is the biggest ting. It’s just those little lapses within the game.”

Evason told reporters that Kahkonen will start Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but even though Talbot will be riding the pine, he’ll be ready and focused once his name is called again.

“Everyone’s a competitor,” Talbot said. “You want the net - it’s how I’ve been my entire career. When you’re not playing you can do one of two things: you can sit there and sulk or you can go out there and work hard and be ready for your next start. That’s always been my mentaltiy and that’s how I’m going to continue to approach things.