Ever since he was acquired from Edmonton on Feb. 15, Cam Talbot has been jerked to the bottom of the Flyers’ three-goalie rotation.
Now he gets to face the Carolina Jerks on Saturday afternoon in Raleigh.
For those who haven’t been following, broadcaster Don Cherry, who brings attention to himself with his loud clothes and boisterous comments, called the Carolina Hurricanes a “bunch of jerks” last month because they, well, brought attention to themselves with boisterous celebrations — called a Storm Surge — following home wins.
After practice Thursday in Voorhees, Talbot said his goal Saturday was to prevent the Hurricanes from performing one of their elaborate postgame routines, which, he added, were “good for the game.”
Less than a half-hour later, however, former Flyer Justin Williams, the ageless Carolina winger who apparently has been the mastermind behind the celebrations, tweeted that regardless of the outcome, Thursday’s game against visiting Washington would be the last Storm Surge of the season.
Williams, 37, who had 22 goals entering Thursday, said it had been an “absolute treat” to celebrate victories with the Hurricanes’ fans and “muddying the waters a little bit. We’ve created a buzz again in Carolina …”
So Talbot and his teammates will have to think of a different motivation to shut down a Carolina team that entered Thursday with a 27-10-2 record since beating the Flyers, 3-1, on Dec. 31.
Because of circumstances — Talbot had visa problems and was delayed getting to Philadelphia after the trade for Anthony Stolarz, and goalies Brian Elliott and Carter Hart both played superbly — the 31-year-old goalie has started just one game with the Flyers. In his first game since Feb. 9 with Edmonton, Talbot made 30 saves as the Flyers won in New Jersey, 6-3, on March 1.
Talbot, a potential unrestricted free agent who hopes to sign with the Flyers, figures to get two or three starts the rest of the season.
“That’s pretty much why they brought me in; it was more or less an audition,” said the 6-foot-4, 196-pound Talbot, who finished fourth in the Vezina voting as the league’s best goaltender in 2016-17. “It’s taken a little bit longer to get this opportunity, but I have to do my best with it even though it’s been a long layoff. Just kind of get back into it as quick as possible and show my best.”
Montreal, which would have eliminated the Flyers from the playoff race with a win, lost a 6-2 decision Thursday in Columbus. ... James van Riemsdyk will face his brother, Trevor, a defenseman, when the Flyers play in Carolina. … The Flyers have lost dropped 3-1 and 5-3 decisions this season to Rod Brind’Amour’s Hurricanes. The latter loss, on Jan. 3, was the last game Michal Neuvirth played this season.