It’s been a pretty good couple of games for Zack Kassian.
You’re probably aware by now, but Kassian has had himself a fine playoff series so far against the Sharks. Two game winning goals (one shorthanded, mind you) have helped to put the Oilers up two games to one over the San Jose Sharks. I can guarantee you that no one had Kassian popping off for a couple of game winners, it’s already got a swath of people calling him “Pisani”.
As surprising as Kassian’s scoring surge has been, there’s little doubt that the play of Cam Talbot is the biggest difference maker for the Oilers right now.
DOING THE DEED
After Connor McDavid, the team’s MVP is Cam Talbot. In three playoff games, Cam Talbot is doing the deed.
Talbot’s .919 SV% ranked him tenth overall for goalies who played in 40 or more games this season. There’s exactly one goalie since Dwayne Roloson that I think even comes close to touching that, and he’s in Minnesota now. It’s only been three games in the postseason, but Talbot’s played out of his mind. In three games, Talbot’s turned aside 80 of 83 total shots, good for a .964 SV%. That’d be good for first place most seasons, but the Blackhawks can’t figure out how to score a goal on Pekka Rinne (1.000 SV% in two games). Minnesota has the same problem against St. Louis and Jake Allen (.967 after three games).
Cam Talbot turned aside all shots in games 2 and 3. It’s the first time an Oiler goalie has posted back-to-back shutouts during the playoffs since Curtis Joseph did it in 1998 against Colorado. It’s quite an accomplishment. Maybe he’s got another one in him on Tuesday. I’m kidding. Sort of.
It’s great that Cam Talbot is holding a .964 SV% right now. I’m not sure for how long he can do this. The Oilers would do themselves a favour by having someone other than Zack Kassian score a goal now and again. But until that happens, they’re going to put their eggs in Cam Talbot’s trapper. And right now, Talbot’s delivering.