Cam Talbot is back and that’s a big deal for the Edmonton Oilers. A year ago, the club rode Connor McDavid’s offense, Talbot’s goaltending and some brilliant power-play work to second place in the Pacific Division. This season sees us viewing a different story but Talbot’s performances are improving and that’s a very good sign.
- Cam Talbot in October: 9gp, 3.10 .904
- Cam Talbot in November: 6gp, 2.64 .921
- Cam Talbot is No. 15 in even-strength save percentage among starters, even with the difficult start.
While Talbot’s improvement is surely a good sign, Laurent Brossoit is going to have his work cut out for him today against the high flying Capitals. Brossoit has not played since October 17th and facing Ovechkin and company is not exactly easing him back in.
- Connor McDavid is now Top 15 in NHL scoring. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl are inside the Top 100 scorers.
- Jesse Puljujarvi’s goal and overall performance yesterday were extremely encouraging. One of the major holes on this team has been the “sixth forward on the skill lines” and JP might be that player.
- It doesn’t get mentioned a lot, but for me Taylor Hall trade tripped the moment Jesse Puljujarvi fell to No. 4 overall. I read constantly that Peter Chiarelli dealt Hall because of Leon Draisiatl’s emergence, but would disagree with that take. Puljujarvi was the bet.
- Oscar Klefbom is taking a lot of heat after yesterday’s loss and he certainly had a tough game. It’s been a struggle for him this season, the Oilers will have to suffer through these difficult times with a very valuable young player.
- Darnell Nurse has emerged as a fine top 4D this season and that’s made a big difference. No matter what happens during the regular year, if he can keep his performance at this level, that’s a major arrow to the good for Edmonton.
- I keep reading about Todd McLellan needing to split Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid and remain all-in on the idea. However, one can’t ignore the lack of viable wingers to replace Leon on right-wing. If you don’t have a replacement, and it seems insane to put Puljujarvi there this early, then what option do you consider superior? Edmonton doesn’t have the wingers to run a center depth chart of McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. That isn’t on the coach, folks.
- This morning, Edmonton is five points out of a wildcard spot. The season will be 20.7 complete after today’s game. Sportsclubstats has Edmonton’s chances at 8.9 percent this morning. No team containing Connor McDavid should be considered a 91 percent bet to miss the playoffs with so much of the season to go, but it’s probably fair to begin talking about this season finishing without a playoff spot for Edmonton.
- Coming into today’s game, the Capitals are on a three-game winning streak at home. The Oilers will need to come out guns blazing if they’re going to end that run.
- The Capitals are 4-1 in November and 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.
GAME DAY QUESTIONS
- Can Jesse Puljujarvi replicate his excellent season debut?
- How will Laurent Brossoit handle the Capitals’ snipers?
- How will the special teams battle play out?
- Will the bottom six forward group contribute on the scoresheet?
Game starts at 5:00pm MST and will be televised on Sportsnet West
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/12/2017, 12:00pm MST