We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
“Hopefully I have a chance to get back at it tomorrow,” Cam Talbot said moments after shutting out the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 last night. Talbot wants the net tonight in San Jose, and I suspect his head coach will give it to him.
Talbot only faced 26 shots and he only had four occasions where the Ducks had two shots in under seven seconds. He regularly held on to the first shot, or easily directed it to the corner or out of play. He didn’t have to go up and down in the butterfly often, where goalies use the most energy, and because he had a relatively quiet night in Anaheim I think Todd McLellan will give Talbot back-to-back starts.
He also had four days rest prior to Wednesday’s win and will have four days off after tonight’s clash.
Talbot has been one of the Oilers most consistent players, and I can understand why moments after a shutout win he was already focused on wanting the opportunity to help his team head to the All-Star break tied for first place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose has 64 points, Anaheim 63 and Edmonton has 62. This is another great test for the Oilers and after a stellar performance last night all 19 players who touched the ice will want a shot at the Sharks.
Talbot hasn’t made back-to-back starts this year, even though he leads the NHL with 44 starts, but he has done it in the past and he’s had good success.
Last year he started Feb 25th in Los Angeles and the next night in Anaheim. He stopped 34 of 36 (.944sv%) in LA and then 32 of 34 (.941sv%) the following night.
In 2014/2015 with the Rangers he made a few back-to-back starts when Henrik Lundqvist was injured.
March 21st at Carolina he stopped 28 of 30 (.933) then made three SO saves in a victory, and on March 22nd at MSG versus Anaheim he faced 48 shots and allowed two goals (.947sv%).
March 10th in Brooklyn he stopped 29 of 30 shots (.967sv%) and the next night in Washington he was virtually the same blocking 28 of 29 (.966sv%).
On Feb 7th in Nashville he allowed three goals on 23 shots (.870sv%), then flew home to New York and faced the Dallas Stars on February 8th and stopped 22 of 25 (.880sv%).
And as a rookie in 2013/2014 on December 22nd versus Minnesota he allowed one goal on 25 shots (.960sv%) and the next night versus Toronto he stopped 25 of 26 shots (.962sv%).
He’s gone back-to-back five times and he’s never been noticeably weaker on the second night compared to the first. He’s been virtually the same.
Coming off a composed, energy-saving shutout last night, it makes sense to put Talbot back in goal tonight.
No reason to make any changes for the Oilers but Todd McLellan did say that there may be some game time decisions on a couple guys that have some bumps and bruises. I see Talbot starting.
Tomas Hertl returns to the lineup. He hasn’t played since November 17th.
Patrick Marleau scored four goals in the third period versus Colorado on Monday, becoming only the third player since 1980 to score four in the third. He joined a pretty exclusive club with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. It was also Marleau’s 98th game winning goal. ** Side note, Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot are the only Oilers with 100 career NHL goals.**
- The Oilers are 6-0-1 in their last seven, with their only loss coming in a shootout versus Nashville. They’ve outscored their opponents 24-12. Their PP is 19% (4 of 21) and their PK is 85.7% (18 of 21). Their last regulation loss was January 10th in Edmonton against the Sharks.
- The Sharks lost their two games after defeating the Oilers, but have won six straight since. They’ve outscored the opposition 22-12. Their PP is 22.2% (4 of 18) while their PK is 85.7% (12 of 14).
- Both teams are playing well and this should be an entertaining game.
- The Sharks defence is why I still have them as the best team in the Pacific Division. Brent Burns is the obvious leader for the Norris Trophy, and right now you could make a strong argument he, along with Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby, should be the three finalists for the Hart Trophy.
Burns is fourth in league scoring with 51 points. He is tied for seventh in goals with 21. He leads the NHL in shots on goal with 189. The last defenceman to lead the NHL in shots was Ray Bourque in the lockout shortened 1994-1995 season. He had 210 in 48 games. Bourque also lead the league in SOG in 1984 and 1987. Bobby Orr did it in 1970 and 1975. I could only find that stat going back to 1967/1968. So only two D-men have done it in the past 48 seasons. Burns could become the third.
The last Canadian born player to lead NHL in shots on goal was Glen Murray with the Bruins in 2002/2003. He had 331. Ovechkin has led league every year since 2005/2006 except 2011/2012 when Evgeni Malkin did.
- Zack Kassian is on a five-game point streak, which ties his career-high set from Jan 30th, 2015 to Feb 13th as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
- Leon Draisaitl is also on career-high matching five-game point streak. He did it once last season, November 11th-20th, and again early this year between November 15th-23rd.
- McDavid also has a five-game point streak, but his career high is seven. He did it twice last season and early this year between November 19th to December 1st.
- The Sharks PP is still a disappointing 22nd overall at 17%. They have had a top-five PP for years, but haven’t needed it this season because they don’t give up many goals. Their GA/G is third best at 2.29 and they surrender the third fewest shots/game at 27.2. However, six of their seven highest shot totals against have come since December 27th. They have allowed more shots recently and the Oilers need to control the puck, force neutral zone turnovers and have good transition.
- The Oilers won 22 of 45 faceoffs thru 40 minutes last night. It helped them maintain possession and build a 4-0 lead. In the third period the Ducks won eight of ten, so the overall game numbers look bad with Ducks winning 56%, but when the game was close the Oilers were basically 50% in the dot, which is positive considering the Ducks are the best faceoff team in the NHL.
- San Jose is 24th in faceoff% at 48, while the Oilers are 30th at 47.5. They need to maintain the same aggressive approach in the dot that they had last night.
- Remember when Peter Chiarelli signed Cam Talbot to a three-year extension last January? Many believed it was a big risk. Read the comment section. I’m guessing many have changed their tune. I didn’t believe it was a risk at the time. Talbot’s calm, not overly aggressive style suits today’s game. He’s not among the top-20 highest paid goalies and is a bargain. He’s only in his fourth NHL season and I wonder if he could take another step like Devan Dubnyk did?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
From Fear the Fin
The Sharks are 2-0 against the Oilers this season and can clinch the season series with a win against Edmonton tonight. A win for Edmonton can move the Alberta squad into a tie for first place, though San Jose will hold a game in hand after playing its 50th game of the season. It took a late tally from Patrick Marleau to give the Sharks their sixth-straight victory on Tuesday and even with Hertl back in the lineup tonight I doubt the game will get much prettier.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both teams are feeling it. This should be a great game. My initial instinct is to pick the Sharks, their defence is so good, but I won’t. Oilers stun me and most of Oilersnation by sweeping the Ducks and Sharks and enter the All-Star break tied for first in the Pacific, winning 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Burns has three shots on goal and picks up a point.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hendricks scores his first career goal versus the Sharks in his 20th game, and Kassian gets an assist on the goal extending his streak to a career-best six games.
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