Friday, December 15, 2017

Oilers Will Get Boost As Cam Talbot Returns on Saturday vs. Wild

Cam Talbot will make his return from a lower body injury when the Oilers face the Wild on Saturday in Minnesota, and head coach Todd McLellan hopes the return of one of the backbones of the club will spark an uptick in form.

"I don't want to downgrade [backup goaltender Laurent] Brossoit and the work that he came in and did but your starter is your starter and you feel good when he's back in there," McLellan said. "He's fresh and he has been able to practice--not a complete practice--so there is some concern there, but at some point he's going to have to play his first game. The sooner the better."

Talbot has been out since November 28 and has gone 10-10-1 with a 3.00 GAA and a .903 Save Percentage. Those numbers are way off the stellar stats that Talbot put up in 2016-17, when he went 42-22-8 with a .919 save percentage while making 73 starts in the regular season for the Oilers.

Talbot's Save Percentage currently ranks him tied for 36th in the NHL with Carey Price, and his .800 Save Percentage on the penalty kill is even more concerning. But Talbot was displaying some better form right before his injury--he has allowed two goals or less in each of his last three starts--and he's produced much better numbers that Brossoit.

Brossoit has a .760 Save Percentage on the penalty kill and overall he went 3-4 with a .890 Save Percentage and a 3.16 GAA.

Talbot says he took the club's advice and was cautious about rushing his return. He told reporters he felt good about four or five days ago, but elected to take his time. "I feel great now," he said. "I felt good four or five days ago but they wanted to just make sure that we gave it the extra few days, but yeah I feel great now and [the injury] shouldn't limit me in any way."

The Oilers currently stand at 13-17-2 and are 9 points out a wild card spot in the Western Conference as well as nine points behind the Sharks for third in the Pacific.