EDMONTON, AB - A fast start and perfect performance by goaltender Cam Talbot helped Edmonton thrash the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-0 at Rogers Place.
"They were 8-1-1 coming in, they're a veteran team and it took everyone to beat them," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "I would say that's as close as we've come to a complete game as a group. A lot tighter, as far as checking, with not many (odd-man rushes) and it's a good sign for our team moving forward."
Talbot ended the game with 31 saves for the Oilers, while four different players scored for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl scored twice, both on the man advantage.
Talbot had to come up big early, stopping Jonathan Toews point-blank with his pad just 38 seconds into the first.
"I felt good from the first period, right off the bat," said Talbot. "Obviously, we gave Toews a grade-A shot right off the bat. When you make a save like that it kind of just snowballs through there and you feel confident throughout the game. I think my start of the game was where it needed to be and it just carried through from there."
Edmonton first lit the lamp at 2:39 of the opening frame. Connor McDavid sped past the Blackhawks defenders along the wing and threw a pass back through traffic. The puck whizzed past its intended target but landed with Oscar Klefbom.
The Oilers defenceman hammered a slap shot on Corey Crawford. The goaltender got a piece but not enough to complete the save and the Oilers took a 1-0 lead. Klefbom now has goals in three straight games, which is a career high streak. Matt Benning recorded the second assist on the goal.
With 2:20 remaining in the first, Toews took a hooking penalty. Edmonton capitalized with 34 seconds left on the clock, to go up 2-0 on the visitors. On the power play, Klefbom fired a shot from the high slot and Draisaitl tipped it past Crawford. McDavid recorded the second assist for his second point of the night.
Matt Hendricks took a slashing penalty at 2:39 of the second period. Talbot set to work systematically dismantling the Chicago man advantage with save after save.
Midway through the second period Kriss Russell leveled Tyler Motte with a well-timed, well-delivered hit that drew a loud round of applause and cheers from the Edmonton crowd.
Despite the fast start by Edmonton, Chicago took over in stretches of the middle frame. Talbot was the difference with the goaltender stopping all 18 of their second-period shots.
The Oil rewarded their goalie's efforts and utilized another power play, late in the second, to increase their lead to three. At 19:52 of the period, Andrej Sekera shot the puck through traffic and it zipped past Crawford.
Sekera's goal was his second of the season, assisted by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Drake Caggiula. The 22-year-old rookie, Caggiula, now has a point in each of his first two NHL games.
Anton Slepyshev made it 4-0 at 7:17 of the third. The Oilers winger flung a shot on net and it slipped past the glove of Crawford. Jesse Puljujärvi was credited with the lone assist.
Draisaitl potted his second goal of the night from the slot, on the power play, at 18:35 of the third to cap off the Oilers five-goal performance. Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic recorded the assists.
"(Chicago) is a team that's always in the playoffs," said Klefbom. "They're a really solid team all year so it was really good for this team and gives us a lot of confidence. I think we played a real solid home game here in Rogers Place so I am really happy with our performance."
The Oilers (11-8-1) hit the road to face the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, followed by a date with the Coyotes in Arizona on Friday. The orange and blue are winners of two straight, outscoring their opponents 10-2 in the pair of victories.