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FEATURE: Tendering Assistance

Cam Talbot gets the nod in goal once again for the Oilers on Thursday in Minnesota as the players in front of him look to solidify their game and help the netminder

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Following the third goal of what would end up being a five-goal final period from the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, netminder Cam Talbot gave way to Mikko Koskinen in goal after 40 minutes of solid hockey for the Oilers.

"It's always frustrating when you get pulled, first and foremost," Talbot, speaking to the media on Wednesday, said of his early exit from the crease the night prior.

"Whether it's on you or a combination of things, you never want to leave the net. As a competitor, I'd rather battle it out with my teammates. If I'm playing poorly that's a different story, but for the most part I believe that I want to be out there with the guys and battle it out."

Video: RAW | Cam Talbot 02.06.19

The swap was an opportunity for Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock to take a mini timeout, and the bench boss understood Talbot's frustration as he left to the dressing room and didn't return for the remainder of the game.

"Not one bit," Hitchcock said if he was bothered by the reaction. "I'd be very disappointed if I was him too. He did everything he could to try and help us win the hockey game."

In the heat of the moment, Talbot looks back at his reaction as a mistake and addressed his teammates following the final horn.

"I usually take a few minutes to cool off. Sometimes I stay in the room depending on how much time is left, but I've never been pulled in the third period before either," he said. "It was a highly emotional game, I was frustrated with how things went in the third period, and I was in the wrong to stay in the room and I told the guys that after the game.

"They all have my back. They knew I was frustrated, but I did apologize to them after."

Following Wednesday's morning meeting, Talbot knows he'll be given another opportunity when he gets the start on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.

"We all had a meeting this morning and [Hitchcock] came out and sat next to me saying this guy is the starter tomorrow night," Talbot said. "We've got to come out and play a little bit better, that was basically the message and didn't say a whole lot today because there wasn't a whole lot to say.

"We know what happened last night and the guys take responsibility for that."

The players in front of Talbot are taking the blame on themselves, citing the last handful of games where defensive miscues have led to costly mistakes.

Video: RAW | Darnell Nurse 02.06.19

"Our goalies, we can't blame them either," Oscar Klefbom said. "We've hung them out to dry many games now. It's not just last night and it's not good enough. It's easy to stand here and say we're going to forget about last night, but we've got to learn something from it too."

Darnell Nurse knows Talbot for the competitor he is, and what the defence in front of him needs to do to help whichever goaltender mans the crease for the Oilers each night.

"Talbot is an elite goalie in this league, and he's showed that over the years especially here in Edmonton," Nurse said. We've got to be better for him. "We've got to be better for Koskinen too or whoever is in net. We need to be a tighter team and a better checking team. We can score with any other team in this league, we know we have the talent to do it, but we've got to be better at checking. I know for myself that it's something I need to be better with too."

Talbot's next opportunity comes in another important Wild Card matchup in Minnesota against the Wild, with bygones from Tuesday being bygones. 

"It's always frustrating to get pulled, but at the end of the day that's the coach's decision and you have to respect that. But he's giving me another opportunity tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to that," Talbot said.

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