Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot came into the season with a lot of critical acclaim as well as heightened expectations.
In his second season with Edmonton, he shined as not only a top starter but one of the best goalies in the league. The 29-year-old boasted a league-leading 42 wins last season, as well as the busiest workload of any other netminder. In 73 games, Talbot had a 2.39 GAA and .919 save percentage, and also racked up seven shutouts.
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This year, he had a strong showing in the season opener against Calgary, stopping all 27 shots that came his way. However, following that victory, his game, along with that of the entire team’s, suffered. He surrendered three goals on just seven shots against Vancouver, and as Laurent Brossoit came in relief, he continued to struggle between the pipes, allowing nine goals over the course of his next two starts.
In his last two starts, however, he has looked a lot stronger in net, and appears to be getting back on the right track. He’s only surrendered three goals, and has been outstanding in face of a bigger workload.
In Edmonton’s 2-1 overtime win against Chicago Thursday, the Ontario native shut down the Blackhawks’ arsenal consisting of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, stopping 31 of 32 shots. He’d pay again Saturday, and though the team fell 2-1 to Philadelphia, he made 24 saves and also stood tall, even when he was left to dry.
Looking at his game as the season continues, he has shown a lot of signs of improvement. He appears more calm and collected between the pipes, and is also quicker. Additionally, he seems to have recaptured his confidence, which is fueling his performance.
While Talbot has figured out his game and appears much more poised, he also needs help from his defence. The Oilers’ blue line has not been impressive, and at times, they will leave Talbot alone to pick up the slack. Still, he has been fine for Edmonton, and heading into the rest of the season, he will likely stay consistent.