EDMONTON -- Cam Talbot is looking for a fast start this season, and the Edmonton Oilers goaltender thinks opening it against the New Jersey Devils in the NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Oct. 6 can help propel the Oilers in a positive direction.
"Anytime you can get a road trip like that to start the season, guys are always together, you're on the plane, you're hanging out, you're in hotel rooms, it's just a fun time to be away with the guys," Talbot said Tuesday.
"Hockey is the main focus, but you always have to focus on those team gatherings too, and build a good rapport with everyone in the room and let the new guys get to know everyone else that have been around for a while. I think that's going to be a great trip for us and we're looking forward to that, obviously."
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The Oilers play at the Boston Bruins on Oct. 11, New York Rangers on Oct. 13 and Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 16, before their home opener against the Bruins on Oct. 18.
Talbot said a strong start will be vital for the Oilers in their attempt to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Our start is a huge focus and that starts in training camp," Talbot said. "I know that guys are getting ready to come back into town soon and they're going to be fired up and ready to go. We don't want another repeat of last year, and everyone knows that."
The Oilers need Talbot to play the way he did two seasons ago when they qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. He was 42-22-8 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 2016-17, and was 31-31-3 last season with a 3.02 GAA and .908 save percentage. Edmonton finished 17 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card from the Western Conference.
Video: VAN@EDM: Talbot pulls off acrobatic save in the 2nd
"He had an all-world season the year before last. Last year he was good, maybe not great, but it was good," Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr said. "Unfortunately, when everybody has a bad season, good looks worse than it really is. He didn't have that bad a year last season, it just doesn't look as good. I think there are expectations for him and I think if he plays as well as he did last year, and adding in four or five games like he did the year before, he'll have a great year."
Talbot said he believes his game improved toward the end of last season and is looking to build on it.
"I think I finished last season the way that I had my season two years ago," he said. "So down the stretch I felt as good as I had all season long, going back a couple of years. So I need to pick up from there, and I need to have a good start so the rest of the team can have a good start, and I'm focused on that right now."