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Photo Credit: © Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers 4, Wild 1 post-game Oil Spills: Talbot shines as Oilers end losing streak

The Oilers badly needed a win last night. Having lost six in a row, the Oilers went into Minnesota for a playoff-like game against the Wild, another team in the Western Conference Zombie Walk. Cam Talbot put forward perhaps his best game of the season to help the Oilers finally get back in the win column.

What happened?

Once an Oiler, always an Oiler! The Oilers opened the scoring early in the first period when Darnell Nurse fired a one-timer from inside the point past Devan Dubnyk. It’s nice being on the other side of an early goal for once.

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Ty Rattie was given an opportunity back on the top line last night and he responded by scoring his fourth goal of the season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fed a perfect pass into the middle of the nice and Rattie, who was crashing the net, put it past Dubnyk for a 2-0 lead.

Nobody would blame you if you still felt nervous heading into the third period despite Edmonton’s 2-0 lead. The Oilers had blown three third period leads in a row heading into last night’s game and Joel Eriksson Ek scored early in the third to make it 2-1. Uh oh!

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But a few minutes after the Wild cut the lead in half, the Oilers regained their two-goal lead when they converted on a gorgeous tic-tac-toe power-play goal. RNH had the puck at the top of the circle, he fed it down to Alex Chiasson beside the goal, and he tipped the puck into the slot for Leon Draisaitl.

By the numbers

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The Wild carried the play for the entire game, outshooting the Oilers in each of the three periods. All told, Minnesota had 61 shot attempts to Edmonton’s 27, and the Wild had 11 high danger chances to Edmonton’s five.

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Thoughts…

  • The difference tonight came down to goaltending. Cam Talbot played, I think, his best game of the season, stopping 35 of 36 shots. Dubnyk wasn’t bad, per se. He allowed one soft goal at the beginning of the game (we were certainly accustomed to the guaranteed one softy from him), but he wasn’t good enough to outduel Talbot. Late in the third, Talbot made two key saves to preserve Edmonton’s two-goal lead before Zack Kassin iced the game with an empty-netter. The Oilers badly needed that performance last night from Talbot to get back in the win column and gain some confidence. If he can get hot and play well like we know he can, it’ll be a huge difference-maker in Edmonton’s playoff drive.
  • I hate to be negative after a win, but beyond Talbot’s great showing, there wasn’t all that much to like from last night’s game. The effort was there, but the Oilers looked outmatched by a team they’re competing with for a playoff spot. The Wild were the better team, as they completely dominated the shot differential and possession at even strength. One thing I did like, beyond Talbot, was Edmonton’s special teams. The Oilers killed both of their penalties and they capitalized on a key power play in the third period. The PP has been rolling as of late as they have 10 goals on the man advantage in their last 12 games.
  • Kris Russell took a big hit from Jason Zucker early in the third period on this play that looked somewhat dirty. Zucker ended up getting called for interference and Edmonton scored on the power play. I’m not sure Zucker had malicious intentions on that hit, but I think the playw as handled properly. Zucker got the penalty he deserved and nobody felt the need to retaliate afterwards. The best way to retaliate is with a power play goal.

  • TKB2677

    I find it funny when people talk about the Oilers and it’s not just this site. The Oilers have their issues. They win a big game last night and the goaltending was a big part of the reason why. So what do Oilers fans do? They sort of applaud the win, give cudos to the goalie but then carve the team. They list how they were outplayed, corsi, shots again, who sucked, as much bad stuff as they can find. For the record, I want all of those things to be better too and they need to be.

    BUT.

    Can someone name me a team in this league that can win games without really good goaltending? IS there one because I can’t find them? I look no further than the team to the south of Edmonton. Calgary has a really good team. They have a good defense with Gio giving them Norris caliber play. When they play Rittich who has been giving them really good goaltending, they win a lot of games. When they play Smith, the results are no where near as good. The goaltender is a part of the team, I would say one of the most important parts of the team. If you don’t get good goaltending, you flat out won’t win.

    • Agreed , I can be pretty negative, but enjoy the win. That said K Lowe and his cronies still have to go for the franchise to move forward. And I do not mean reassigned , promoted, on sabbatical but still being paid (Howson),demoted to AHL, etc. Just gone please.

    • CMG30

      Oilers are 1 in 6. Show me a fanbase that’s happy with that level of performance. If they were just coming off a 6 game win streak you would see an entirely different mood.

  • A-co

    Now we 2 confused Finns on the team…
    1. A 20 year winger who enjoys hitchhiking
    And
    2. A goaltender who signed an extension to be the starter who’s counting his loonies & toonies on the bench as a backup…
    These are the days of our lives

    • hagar

      Wait till Talbot plays one or two more good games and they sign him again. Lol
      That would be the most oilers thing to do ever and i cant imagine it not happening if cam puts a couple more solid performances together.

      • SSB1963

        Nothing wrong with two strong goalies. Talbot also has a larger body of work on which to make a decision, I just hope that Koskinen can continue how he has been playing.

  • Odanada

    OK Cam.
    Time to step up and show ’em what you can do. Go on a roll and you’ll play in the NHL next year – no guarantee where. The door is open and the opportunity there. Earn this.

        • TKB2677

          Absolutely Talbot needs it. At the start of the year, I thought for exactly the reasons you listed that Talbot was going to have a good year. I know some people like to point the finger at the Oilers defense. I agree, if the Oilers defense was better Talbot’s numbers would look a little better. But he’s at 3.30 GA and .895%. If the Oilers defense was better, what would his numbers be? 3.0 GA and .905%? That still isn’t good enough to be considered a quality starter. I think his play cost him some BIG money.

  • CMG30

    Good to see Talbot showcasing what he can do for the next team. Hope we can win a few and get at least a mediocre pick for him when cap considerations force us to dump him. Watching how our former GM operated with a complete lack of common sense was like an ice pick to the brain.

    • TKB2677

      I never ran Dubnyk out of town, I just wanted to see more consistent play from him. Why is that a bad thing? If you look at the game last night, the first goal against the Wild shouldn’t go in. Put the team on it’s heals.

      You can’t win in this league if you are getting below .910 goaltending. Even that is low. Go look at all the playoff teams