ANAHEIM -- This time, the man leading the way was a known commodity for the Edmonton Oilers.
"The one wearing the big pads was our hero tonight," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said.
That would be Cam Talbot, the goaltender who led the NHL with 42 wins in the regular season. It seems as though his prodigious heavy lifting was merely the warmup act for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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Talbot made 39 saves in a 2-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at Honda Center on Friday, allowing only a power-play goal by forward Jakob Silfverberg in the second period.
"It's been a hell of a ride so far," Talbot said. "I don't think anyone expected us to be in the playoffs this year, let alone be in the second round and up against a really good Pacific (Division) team. I think we've grown as a team a lot the last couple of years."
The Oilers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 with Game 3 in Edmonton on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
From the outside, it looks like the Oilers have grown up overnight. That particular narrative might be attractive but it's not entirely accurate. McLellan made a reference to "all the misery" that had gone on during the long struggles of past seasons.
Good goaltending can certainly help lead the way out of the wilderness.
"Goaltending is a must in this League," McLellan said. "For me it's like pitching in baseball. If you don't have it, good luck."
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm2: Talbot shines with 39 saves in win
In the playoffs, Talbot has won four in a row and is 6-2 with a 2.03 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and two shutouts. He has given up one goal or less in four of the eight games.
He agreed with the notion that this is the best and most consistent groove of his career.
"I'm finding some of those pucks that maybe I wouldn't have found before," Talbot said. "That's what you need in the playoffs."
Talbot gave credit to his teammates, especially defenseman Adam Larsson, who was Mr. Offense in Game 1 with two goals and an assist. On Friday he was back to his usual defensive-minded self.
"What else can you say about him the other night?" Talbot said. "If you had told me that one of our Swedish defensemen was going to have three points the other night I don't think I would have guessed it was going to be the right-handed guy.
"That's not what we expect from him. He's a shutdown guy and that's what he did for us tonight."
The Oilers may have led 1-0 after one period but they were outshot 12-3. Talbot came up with big first-period saves on Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf, who was a force most of the night.
"Those are three pretty big-time saves from a critical area in a critical time of the game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "He made those stops and we didn't have enough traffic. We didn't exert enough of our will to get to the front of the net."
The Ducks hit plenty of posts in Game 2 and Talbot got off a good line about that, saying: "Unless I hear the horn go off, it makes me feel pretty good.
Of course, Talbot was asked if he was tired, if he thought about how many games he has played during an uncommon heavy workload. This was his 81st start -- 73 in the regular season and eight in the playoffs.
"I feel pretty good. Do I look tired?" he asked.
Said McLellan: "He wants to be in goal every night. There was a lot written and talked about, is [he] tired? Are you playing him too much?
"It was like pulling hair to keep him out of the crease, to give him an off day. He loves to put the pads on and get out there and play. Part of his desire and ability to keep going rubs off on the rest of the guys as well. He's our go-to guy. He's earned every minute of it. He craves more."
Video: EDM@ANA, Gm2: McLellan discusses Talbot's heroics