Sun, Apr 30, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Cam Talbot carries Oilers past Ducks

‘GOOD GOAL‘:Vladimir Tarasenko was at the right place at the right time to take advantage of a lucky bounce to score the go-ahead goal as the Blues beat Nashville

AP, ANAHEIM, California

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot plays at the puck during their Western Conference second-round Stanley Cup playoff game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

While the Anaheim Ducks dominated the puck and peppered the Edmonton net with shots over the final two-and-a-half periods, Cam Talbot stood tall — when he wasn’t sprawling, diving or gloving everything in sight.

While Connor McDavid is getting most of the attention during the Oilers’ impressive Stanley Cup playoff run, their hardworking goaltender is doing much of the hard work to keep them sailing forward.

Talbot made 39 saves and Patrick Maroon scored a power-play goal as Edmonton moved halfway to the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over Anaheim in Game 2 of their second-round series on Friday night.

Andrej Sekera scored an early goal for the Oilers, who took the first two games on Pacific Division champions Anaheim’s home ice. Talbot got credit from both teams for the result in Game 2, making all manner of impressive saves while Anaheim dominated the final 30 minutes.

“I felt good off the start,” Talbot said. “I made some big saves early. It kind of gets you in the game. We get a big goal early, which really helped, too. We started the game the way we wanted to start it. Down the stretch, we bent but we didn’t break, and that’s the sign of a good team.”

Game 3 is today in Edmonton.

Edmonton’s first playoff appearance in 11 years is off to a rollicking start, with the Oilers following up their six-game defeat of defending Western Conference champions San Jose by taking two games from the five-time champions of their division.

Everybody in hockey knows McDavid is in his first post-season run after winning the NHL scoring title, but Talbot had just two games of backup playoff experience in his entire career before this spring. He followed up a two-shutout first round against San Jose and a wild Game 1 victory in Anaheim by protecting a lead for nearly 59 full minutes in Game 2.

Although the Ducks dominated long stretches of play in both contests, Talbot stopped 72 of 76 shots in the first two games in Anaheim. The Ducks also hit multiple posts in Game 2, but nothing could get by Talbot, who made most of his tough saves well before the final eight minutes.

“He has had some really good games,” Maroon said. “Two shutouts the last series against San Jose? I mean, he’s been excellent for us. And like I tell him all the time, goalies are supposed to stop the puck.”

In St Louis, Missouri, Vladimir Tarasenko was at the right place at the right time to take advantage of a lucky bounce and help the Blues to an important win.

Tarasenko scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal with 3 minutes, 51 seconds remaining to give St Louis a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, tying their NHL Western Conference semi-final series at one game apiece.

On the go-ahead goal, Jaden Schwartz led the rush and initially tried to pass to Joel Edmundson, but the pass was off the mark and Edmundson kicked it right to Tarasenko’s stick.

“It’s a great play by Schwartzy and then I probably scream for Eddy to give it to me and he made a good play,” Tarasenko said. “It’s a good goal for us. We lost the first game, we couldn’t lose this one.”

Game 3 is today in Nashville, Tennessee.

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