Cam Talbot steps up, good news for Senators

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LOS ANGELES— Cam Talbot has found its rhythm.

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As the Ottawa Senators returned from Golden State with two straight wins, it was easy to see that the club’s defensive play had taken a step in the right direction.

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But Talbot, 35, also recorded back-to-back victories with a 25-save effort in the club’s 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles on Sunday night at Arena.

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« He made so many good saves, » the assistant captain said Thomas Chabot following the victory. “Even the games that our goalkeepers drew heavily were on us.

« When you give up so many chances some of them will come in. We thought it was unfair for him. In the last two games he made key saves at key times and that was the difference.

Fired after allowing three goals on seven shots Monday in San Jose, Talbot wanted to return to the net against the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. He started in a 4-1 loss there, but Talbot’s performance wasn’t the issue.

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Coach’s decision DJ Smith going straight back to Talbot in Vegas was just the boost he needed. He missed a lot of camp and the start of the season with a broken rib suffered in the club’s first exhibition game.

« I feel good right now, » said Talbot, distributed here this summer by the Minnesota Wild. « It’s the best I’ve felt. After an injury and not being able to play in pre-season, the first games, I felt a little behind and a little fragile at times.

« When you start a bit and get a few games in a row, you start to settle in and that’s what I’m doing right now. »

Friday in Anaheim, Talbot came within two minutes and 50 seconds of a shutout in a 5-1 win over the Ducks. He made 31 saves at Honda Center and the only goal he allowed could have been goalie interference.

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You can’t win without a good goalie and that’s why it was important for Talbot to have the chance to bounce back from Vegas.

« It was probably a big decision by the coaching staff and it probably wasn’t easy either, » he said. « You don’t want to let these games drag on when you’re a goalkeeper and the coaching staff knows it.

« They gave me the opportunity to right the ship throughout the trip here and I thought I was able to do a good job. »

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tim Stutzle (18) battle for the puck in the first period at Arena on November 27, 2022.
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tim Stutzle (18) battle for the puck in the first period at Arena on November 27, 2022. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea /USA TODAY SPORTS


The forward pass Tim Stutzle install Claude Giroux for the winner on Sunday was amazing.

The Senators nearly gave the puck behind their own net, but after a quick recovery by Chabot, he managed to get it to Stutzle, who delivered a perfect backhand pass to Giroux to send him on a breakaway.

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« I don’t know how he got away from (Anze) Kopitar, one of the best defensive forwards in NHL history, making a play and then a backhand saucer pass to the far blue line (to Giroux),” Talbot said.

No kidding because Stutzle showed great vision making the pass.

Giroux’s goal was the third fastest in franchise history. Matt Duchene holds the mark with his goal seven seconds into overtime against the San Jose Sharks on January 5, 2018 and Josh Norris is second with a goal in nine seconds against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 12, 2021.


Ottawa winger Alex Formenton, the last restricted free agent in the NHL, has until 5 p.m. Thursday to get a contract in place to be eligible to play this season.

He had 18 goals and 32 points with the Senators in 2021-22.

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There are three options here for Formenton, 23, who skated around the Toronto area trying to stay ready:

No. 1: He’ll sign with the Senators if he’s GM Pierre Dorion and agent Wade Arnot of Newport Sports are able to complete a deal before the deadline.

No. 2: The Senators trade his rights for something in return and he signs with the club where he is treated. Formenton scored 18 goals and 32 points in 79 games last season and you’d think there would be interest.

No.3: Formenton isn’t signed or traded by the deadline and is forced to play in Europe this season. The Senators would still retain his restricted free agency rights.

Neither side is commenting on these talks, so it’s unclear which direction it may go, but we’ll find out one way or another by Thursday.

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The Senators assigned a replacement goaltender Kevin Mandolese at their AHL branch in Belleville on Monday before leaving Los Angeles.

That means Anton Forsberg, who didn’t dress Friday or Sunday due to a lower-body injury, could be set to step back Wednesday against the New York Rangers at home.

Forsberg skated Saturday at the Kings’ practice facility in a suburb of Los Angeles, but the club was off the ice Sunday due to an afternoon NBA game at the rink.

He will have to skate Tuesday in Ottawa before a decision is made on Forsberg’s status. The Senators don’t believe he’ll be out for long.

The club also sent a defender Lassi Thomson, who was not in costume on Sunday, back to Belleville. He was pulled for the club’s win over the Kings and is only a phone call away if the club want him back.

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