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GAME CHANGER: Talbot kings the crease

Cam Talbot's 38-save clinic over the Chicago Blackhawks was a game-changing performance

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Maybe it was Artem Anisimov's slippery shot from the blue paint, stymied by a butterfly stance early in the opening period.

Or Artemi Panarin's steaming one-timer served on a platter from Patrick Kane but ordered back by the blocker.

Submit your own favourite game-changing performance or moment

It could be Jonathan Toews' short-side power move in the final minute of the third period that hit chest and was promptly covered.

Perhaps it was a culmination of all three shots - and the 35 others - Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot stopped against the Chicago Blackhawks in February that deserves game-changing acknowledgment. The netminder stood tall as king of the crease, keeping the door shut on a night when 39 pucks came knocking. 

Video: EDM@CHI: Talbot turns away Panarin's slapper

Talbot's goalie clinic helped Edmonton capture a 3-1 victory, ending the Blackhawks' five-game winning streak and extending the Oilers winning streak to three. It marked the first Oilers road win in the Windy City since March of 2015, on a night when Connor McDavid visited the United Center for the first time.

The Oilers were in tough against the Blackhawks. Edmonton managed to put up only four shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes and 22 in total through three periods. Chicago, meanwhile, salted Talbot with 12 first-period shots, then peppered him 27 times more through the final two frames. 

Talbot's heroics were the difference, as each save made at the Oilers end of the ice prompted more motivation for the players trying to tilt it the other way.

"The way (Talbot) kept us in there was huge," confirmed Oilers winger Milan Lucic, who scored his 12th goal of the season in the third period to make it 2-0. "The reason we won tonight was the way he played all game long, especially in the first period. 

"Guys were able to build off that heading into the second period."

Video: EDM@CHI: Talbot turns away van Riemsdyk's wrister

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan could sense that his starting goaltender was at the top of his game that night.

"He was just in the zone," said McLellan. "He faced a lot of rubber. He had to be alert for a full 60 minutes and never had a chance to slip out of it.

"I thought he was tremendous tonight."

Talbot, meanwhile, remained humble by stressing the collective rather than his solo performance.

"That's a veteran team over there," he said. "We knew to expect that from them… They came out hard and we were able to weather the storm."

Without a doubt, Talbot's 38-save effort against the Blackhawks was a game-changer, giving the Oilers their 32nd victory of the season.

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