The Edmonton Oilers have won two in a row, in large part thanks to Cam Talbot. While the Oilers were the better team on Sunday in Boston, Cam still made some big saves when called on. On Tuesday night, with the Oilers not showing up until the third period, Talbot stood on his head and arguably stole two points for his team.
The Oilers won’t see Talbot for at least another two weeks, and will now have to get through a lengthy stretch before his possible return. According to reports, Talbot tweaked an injury in his upper body on Tuesday night and was place on the IR, retroactive to Tuesday. He’ll be eligible to return on December 5th, although that is now out of the question.
In response, the Oilers recalled Nick Ellis from AHL Bakersfield. Ellis is expected to backup tonight while Brossoit gets the start vs. Toronto, his second home ice start of the season. The Oilers also play Saturday in Calgary
before Talbot can come off the IR and rejoin the team.
A Tough Loss:
Cam Talbot hasn’t been the Cam Talbot of last season, there is no doubt about that. However, Talbot has played quite well in his last three starts, going 3-0-0 with two of those wins coming in regulation time. After getting pulled early in St. Louis, Talbot has figured it out and seemed to be regaining steam. This injury will set him back for two weeks at the worst possible time.
I’m sure this will allow Cam to catch his breath, and it may actually help him. See, a goalie stepping back when he is struggling overall can help. We saw it last year with Henrik Lundqvist and earlier this season with Carey Price. Both of those goalies came back ready to roll and restored former levels of play. It’s possible that happens here with Talbot, and boy do the Oil need it.
This injury comes at a horrible time, however. With Toronto and Calgary coming up on the schedule, Edmonton needs wins and needs to have its best players on the ice. At this juncture of the season, where every game is starting to count, Edmonton being without Talbot is a brutal blow.
Hopefully the absence lasts just two games and allows Edmonton’s starting netminder to reset before the Flyers come calling in six days. As I was writing this Talbot’s injury timeline was updated by Todd McLellan. The Oilers’ starter will be out for at least two weeks, potentially more.
The Floor Is Yours, Laurent:
Laurent Brossoit gets the nod tonight, still looking for his first victory on the season. LB is 0-3-1 with a .881 SV% this season, it hasn’t been overly pretty. He looked good in relief in Vancouver in game two of the season, and played well in starts against Washington and Buffalo, but he was disastrous in his lone home start against Carolina and in relief in St. Louis.
LB has been inconsistent, no doubt about it this year. That said, Brossoit played quite solid last year when he replaced Jonas Gustavsson in the net around January as backup to Cam Talbot. Brossoit went 4-1-0 with a .928 SV% in eight appearances last year, proving that he can at least backup in this league.
With Talbot on the shelf for two weeks, at least, we are going to learn a lot about Brossoit. Can he rise to the occasion and give the Oilers some consistent goaltending? Or, is Brossoit going to falter and prove that he isn’t ready for the NHL, forcing the Oilers to move on from him and acquire a different NHL backup?
This is going to be tough, and if we are being honest with each other it could be the death blow for this year’s Edmonton Oilers. Cam Talbot is by far the best goalie on the roster, and now with him out the Oilers don’t have a proven NHL’er to tend to the net. That’s scary for a team that is already on life support. This could very well be it.
That said, Brossoit has talent and has shown at the NHL level, in a small sample size, that he can play a bit. He’s going to have to show that again over these next two weeks. If he does, he’ll have cemented himself as an NHL’er and likely will earn more playing time as the year goes on.
There is also a team element to this. If the Oilers are going to make the postseason, they’ll need to play better as a team. While Talbot is out of the lineup, their safety net is gone. I wonder if this injury brings the team closer and forces them to play a better game to ‘protect the house’ and give LB a chance to win. I know this has happened in Boston recently and it has sparked a stretch of really good play.
This is going to go one of two ways: Talbot’s injury officially ends the season, or it propels the Oilers to play a helluva lot better and saves the year.
Now, we watch.