After a 12 goal game and the Oilers’ offense bailing out their goaltender, Anders Nilsson, it was Cam Talbot’s opportunity to shine. The Oilers faced off against the Bruins in Boston and although the score wasn’t anywhere near the score of the previous game it could have been in a very bad way. The Oilers were nothing but lucky to make it overtime and even luckier to get two points out of Boston.
The last game that Cam Talbot started was on November 27th which was an OT loss to the Detroit Red Wings. In that game Talbot faced 32 shots and allowed 4 goals. Tonight the Oilers’ so called defense fell apart and forced Talbot to make 47 saves on 49 shots. It was gut wrenching to watch, especially the second period where the Oilers didn’t register their first shot on net until 16:39 mark of the period. Tonight was Talbot’s night to prove something and he definitely did. He gets almost full marks on his performance tonight.
The right side defense in particular Justin Schultz and Eric Gryba. I lost count after 10 poor defensive moves. It was like they were scared at all times and couldn’t do a thing with the puck. Schultz was a little bit better than Gryba when it came to puck handling but over all these two were a hot mess.
The only upside is that tonight Schultz and Gryba only played 14:50 & 16:32 at respectively EV.
Possession! And by possession I don’t mean corsi or fenwick. I litterally mean puck possession. The Oilers couldn’t sustain any form of puck possession until the overtime period. It seemed like every time they gained the zone the play would die and Bruins would be up the ice with the puck.
There also wasn’t a lot of second chances when it came to shots on net either. The Oilers would get a shot away or a shot would be blocked but nothing more. This was most prevalent on the power play when the Oilers couldn’t even setup.
There are a few important points to make. First the Oilers are a single game away from a .500 record, that is the best they’ve been by December 15th in a very long time. A win tomorrow would be glorious. Second the Oilers creeped into a playoff spot and did that in mid-December and although they fluked into it, its very nice to see as a fan. Finally, WTF? The Oilers are on a 6 game winning streak! 6 games! As a fan this has been a fun to watch even if I know it’s going to end and the whole world is gonna crash in on me soon.
The dreaded back to back against the New York Rangers. The last back to back game was the last time Talbot started a game. Like I mentioned before it was an OT loss which promoted Todd McLellan to start Anders Nilsson the next game. The back to back before that came in early November after Nilsson won against the Ducks in OT. McLellan decided to stick with the hot hand and it ended up costing the Oilers against the Coyotes who throttled them 4 - 1. Hopefully McLellan makes the right decission and goes with Nilsson even though he allowed 5 goals against the Rangers a few days ago. Talbot needs to rest and Nilsson is the logical choice even if Talbot has the "hot hand" today. Once again it’s an early start which means most of us will still be at work when the game started at 5PM MT.