EDMONTON — Cam Talbot is living up to expectations in Edmonton.
Talbot, who was acquired from the New York Rangers at last summer’s NHL Entry Draft, made 40 saves to record his third shutout of the season and the Oilers won their second game in a row, emerging with a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
“Every time there was a chance he was there to answer,” said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, who scored the game winner. “If there’s a mistake it’s not always in the back of your net. In the latter part of the season, he’s been the hero in most of the games.”
Talbot said his comfort level is at an all-time high.
“I feel more confident than I have pretty much my whole career, giving the guys a chance to win,” he said. “And they’ve been playing some pretty solid hockey in front of me.”
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said that wasn’t the case for the majority of Friday’s matchup.
“There was not a lot of support,” he said. “There would be one man and four guys watching. As a result we played in our own end a lot and didn’t have the puck much and our goaltender needed to be superb and he was.”
Matt Hendricks also scored for the Oilers (29-38-7), who have won seven of their last 11 games.
Jacob Markstrom stopped 23-of-25 shots for the Canucks (27-31-12), who have lost three in a row.
“I thought we had some really good chances to score, but with 40 shots, we should have created some more Grade-A chances,” said Vancouver captain Henrk Sedin. “It was a good game chance-wise for us, but with the amount of puck possession we had, I think we should have created more traffic in front of him.”
There was a no scoring in the first period, with eight shots registered by both teams.
Edmonton caught a bit of a break five minutes into the second as a puck slipped under Talbot while defender Darnell Nurse and Canuck Brendan Gaunce crashed into the net, but the goal didn’t survive a video review due to incidental contact with Talbot.
The Oilers broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the second period as Connor McDavid fed it to Eberle, whose quick wrist shot seemed to handcuff Markstrom.
Vancouver came close to tying the game 30 seconds into the third, but Chris Tanev rang a shot off the post.
The Oilers made it 2-0 six minutes into the third when Hendricks pounced on a rebound in front of the net to score his fourth of the season.
The Canucks return home to face the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, while the Oilers close out their current homestand against Colorado on Sunday.
Notes: It was the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with each recording a 2-1 victory in overtime in the previous encounters. The Canucks and Oilers face off two more times this season… Out with injuries for the Canucks were Alex Biega (upper body), Markus Granlund (upper body), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Yannick Weber (upper body), Jannik Hansen (ribs), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia) and Derek Dorsett (upper body).. Absent from the Oilers lineup were Oscar Klefbom (foot), Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Eric Gryba (knee) and Adam Pardy (hand).