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RECAP: Oilers 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

by Ryan Frankson / Edmonton Oilers

BOSTON, MA– The streak continues! Cam Talbot made a career-high 47 saves and Andrej Sekera scored the game-winner as the Oilers opened up their road trip with a 3-2 overtime win in Boston.

Sekera scored just 41 seconds into three-on-three sudden death to give the Oil their sixth consecutive win, while Jordan Eberle scored once and added two assists in the thrilling victory. Sekera and Eberle’s heroics were over-shadowed by Talbot’s gargantuan performance in his first start since Nov. 27, as the Bruins drastically outshot the Oilers 49-24.

“He won us the game,” Eberle said. “He made a ton of saves tonight. Obviously it wasn’t our best game… at the end of the day Cam was there to keep us in the game, and once it gets to three-on-three, anything can happen.”

“We know that we stole one here tonight,” Coach Todd McLellan added. “Our goaltender played a tremendous game for us… I think we can be better in a lot of areas.”

Always humble, Talbot deflected plenty of the credit to the collective team effort.

“They’re a very resilient team and they pushed hard the whole game,” the goalie said of the Bruins. “As a group, we were able to weather the storm and the guys did a good job protecting around the net.”

Contrary to the 2-0 score at the end of the first for the Oilers, it was the Bruins who dominated the early stages of Monday’s game, forcing Talbot to make several tough saves in the opening minutes. The toughest of the lot was actually friendly fire as Talbot made an initial save and the rebound ricocheted off defenceman Eric Gryba's leg straight back towards the net. The goalie slid across the crease and got to the puck just in time to kick it out of harm’s way for one of his 11 saves in the first.

In an effort to swing the momentum back in his team’s favour, veteran winger Matt Hendricks dropped the gloves with Boston’s Zac Rinaldo. The fight was a quick one as neither scrapper could find his balance and they crashed to the ice, but Hendricks' offering of physicality spurred the Oilers as they took over the period from there.

Edmonton broke the scoreless deadlock 8:29 into the game when Gryba’s point shot went just wide of the net but took a fortuitous bounce off the back wall, right onto Eberle’s stick. The sniper quickly shovelled the puck over Jonas Gustavsson for his seventh of the season and fourth in the last five games.

The Oilers extended their lead to 2-0 a little over five minutes later at 13:58, with Eberle playing a pivotal role once again. His forward line was on the forecheck, and after hulking Bruins d-man Zdeno Chara lost an edge in the corner, Eberle pounced on the loose puck and fed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the high slot. The centre’s initial shot was stopped, but he deposited the rebound for his eighth of the year. That helper, along with the OT goal setup, gave Eberle his seventh point in five games, while blueliner Nikita Nikitin picked up the second assist for his first point in his first NHL game this season.

The Bruins opened the middle frame exactly how they started the first, with some heavy sustained pressure. This time they finally capitalized, though, registering the first 10 shots of the frame and finally converting as Matt Beleskey drove to the net and chipped a shot over Talbot’s pad for his fourth of the season. It took the Oilers until the 16:39 mark to record their first shot of the period.

The Oil opened the third period on the penalty kill and fought their way back to even strength before getting a power play of their own. Eberle made yet another slick move, cutting to the slot and getting hooked by Brad Marchand. Unfortunately, the Oilers were unable to capitalize on the man advantage and the Bruins regained their momentum.

Boston continued to dominate the shot column in the third until Marchand sniped home the equalizer at the 15:22 mark for his team-leading 15th of the season. The Oilers used a coach’s challenge, alleging the Bruins were offside on the scoring play, but upon review, it was deemed a legal, onside goal. That’s how regulation ended as the teams headed to OT deadlocked at 2-2, leading to Sekera's GWG a mere 41 seconds later.

“That was like a playoff game,” McLellan said of Boston’s intense pressure. “They checked every inch of ice and didn’t let you breathe.”

The next stop for the Oilers on their four-game road trip is the Big Apple for their second matchup with the New York Rangers in less than a week. The Rangers were in Edmonton on Friday for the Glen Sather banner raising game, which ended up being an ode to the high-scoring 80s era, with the Oilers outlasting New York 7-5. Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall each had four points in the win, while Lauri Korpikoski tallied a hat trick.

“We’re playing with some confidence,” Eberle said. “But we’ve got a quick turnaround tomorrow against a really hockey good team in their own rink. We’ve got to find a way to play better and help our goalies out.”
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