Don’t look now, but the Edmonton Oilers appear to be mounting their assault.
Whether it’s all a tease seems to be seen, but they sure look like the team most expected them to be these days.
Over the past week, the Oilers have rattled off four straight wins, capped off by a 4-1 win on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s not something they’ve done this season. Hell, winning three straight wasn’t something they’d done this season until they beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday.
These past four games have one common denominator: Cam Talbot.
The man who played in 73 games last year, winning 42 of them, has begun to look like the goalie that posted a .919 save percentage last season and helped carry the Oilers to the playoffs.
Since Talbot returned from injury on Dec. 16, he’s played a part in each of the wins on the four-game heater.
And it hasn’t just been a supporting role.
Talbot has allowed two goals or fewer in three of those four starts (and only three in the other one). He’s won seven straight dating back to Nov. 22 and has allowed two or fewer in six of those contests.
It’s the type of goaltending Oilers fans came to expect after last season, and with the team not lighting the lamp on a regular basis every night, limiting the pucks behind him has been pivotal as Edmonton tries to climb back up the ladder in the Western Conference.
The return of Andrej Sekera has provided a boost to the Oilers back end, with the defenseman playing over 20 minutes on Saturday in his second game back after a seven-month layoff due to knee surgery.
They’ll certainly need Talbot, Sekera and a host of others to continue their recent form after the Christmas break.
And they’ll certainly be hoping that this isn’t serious either:
McDavid had a goal and an assist in the game, but lost a faceoff late in the game and then had to make up for it by blocking the ensuing shot.
We’ll have to wait and see what McDavid’s prognosis is, but Oilers fans will surely be trying to get a last-minute addition to Santa on their Christmas wish lists.