The Minnesota Wild had therefore chosen to bet on goalkeeper Cam Talbot rather than Quebecer Marc-André Fleury and he lost his bet.
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"I did everything to stay ready, you don't want to arrive like that in a game where you face elimination, but you still want to have the opportunity to play during the playoffs, commented Talbot, inevitably disappointed after the elimination of the Wild on Thursday night, as quoted by the National Hockey League website. They gave me the opportunity, but I just wasn't good enough."
Talbot certainly doesn't have to take all the blame. His last game dated back to April 28, two weeks ago. Since then, it was Fleury who got the start for the first five games of the series against the St. Louis Blues.
Thursday night, in a 5-1 loss, Talbot was beat four times on 26 shots. In Fleury's case, he went 2-3 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in recent playoffs.
A defining goal
Head coach Dean Evason, who no doubt considered Talbot undefeated in regulation in his most recent 16 outings (13-0-3), doesn't necessarily consider the choice of goaltender to have the big difference against the Blues.
"Our first period was fantastic," Evason said of Game 6. We did everything we were asked to do. We played the right way, with intensity. We got chances, but weren't able to score."
Instead, the Blues led 1-0 at the end of the first period, Thursday night, following a goal from defenseman Nick Leddy with five minutes left in the period.
"They scored that goal and we didn't handle it well, that made the difference," admitted Evason.
Fleury: free agent
Fleury, 37, must now become an unrestricted free agent and it would be very surprising to see him again with the Wild next year. Incidentally, Talbot had gone 0-3-3 and 5.06 GAA in his previous six starts against the Blues.
"It's disappointing not to have won tonight [Thursday] and not to have made it through the first round of the playoffs," agreed Evason, whose team finished second in the Western Conference standings. a 53-22-7 record and a total of 113 points.
“When you are so close, you wonder: what will happen now? Will we all be together again next year or not? It's difficult."