The stingy Edmonton Oilers?
Those words wouldn’t have gone together in recent seasons, but the Oilers have been holding other teams at bay this season. The Oilers have allowed only four goals against over the course of their five-game winning streak. Cam Talbot has recorded a shutout in two of the last three wins.
“I think all the pairs have started to get a good sense of where we’re going to be at all times on the ice. We’ve been playing solid and Talbs has been making good saves when called upon,” says defenceman Darnell Nurse.
“The approach a lot of teams take is they’re throwing pucks at the net from anywhere,” says head coach Todd McLellan. “They play off the pads and look for rebounds and second chances. Every team is going to give up perimeter shots. I’m okay with that. It’s what we do in and around the blue paint with the secondary ones. I think of Darnell Nurse last night in Vancouver. He prevented a goal from being scored against us because he had great body position, an awareness of where the opponent was, and he was able to sweep the crease clean.”
The Oilers have started the season 7-1. Since 2000/01, 26 teams have started off by earning 14 or more of their first possible 16 points. 23 of those clubs have made the playoffs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. We’ll see what happens with the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens (15 points in eight games) this season.
The Oilers host Ottawa Sunday night. Senators goalie Craig Anderson is expected to rejoin the team Saturday night. The Sens announced Saturday afternoon that Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, has been diagnosed with cancer. Anderson took a leave of absence on Thursday. He’ll take the morning skate on Sunday and could play against the Oilers.
“I know he wants to play tomorrow,” says Sens coach Guy Boucher. “You can see he has a lot of people caring about him and that’s what we’re going to try to do in the next days.”
Anderson’s back-up, Andrew Hammond, suffered a groin injury Friday night in Calgary and will be out for at least a week. Chris Driedger finished the game in Calgary. The Sens have also called up Matt O’Connor from their farm team. (jrw)