At some point, Cam Talbot will get the night off to sit on the bench and watch somebody else tend goal for the Edmonton Oilers.
But it won’t be tonight when his Oilers host Florida. Talbot will make his fifth start in the last nine days. No NHL goalie has played more minutes (2,459) than he has this season. No goalie has made more saves (1,115), either.
“This is what you work your whole career towards,” Talbot told reporters today. “I was working my butt off day in, day out, in New York, hoping to get this opportunity at some point behind (Henrik Lundqvist). And Edmonton, I was lucky enough (they gave) me an opportunity last year. You’ve just got to be ready for it when you get it. … I feel great doing it.”
He’s been playing pretty great, too. The 29-year-old is 23-12-6 with a .918 save percentage. He’s won his last three starts while allowing just four goals combined.
And that’s partly why Todd McLellan keeps running Talbot out there — the head coach is riding the hot hand.
The other part relates to the Oilers’ backup. It’s currently Laurent Brossoit, a 23-year-old with just six games of NHL experience. Brossoit was called up from the AHL to replace Jonas Gustavsson, who simply wasn’t getting the job done as Edmonton’s No. 2.
The Oilers, you may have heard, haven’t made the playoffs in over a decade. They desperately want to break that drought, and Talbot has helped put them on pace to do it.
Still, this situation will be worth monitoring. Talbot has never started more than 53 games in an NHL season, and he’s already started 41 in 2016-17. As great as he feels today, there’s absolutely a risk that fatigue sets in down the stretch.
At least the Oilers have the All-Star break and their bye week (Feb. 6-10) on the horizon. Talbot wasn’t selected to participate in Los Angeles later this month; Mike Smith and Martin Jones will represent the Pacific Division instead.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Brossoit is 0-4-1 with an .873 save percentage in those six games with the big club. It’s possible the youngster could start Friday at home to Nashville, as the Oilers also play Saturday in Calgary on Hockey Night in Canada.
Talbot has been busy, but he’s yet to play on consecutive days this season.
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