Talbot has been lights-out since a 6-2 loss to Buffalo on October 16. In his last four starts since that game, Talbot has stopped 130 of 134 shots for a .970 save percentage.
"This was a huge test for us," said Oilers winger Patrick Maroon. "I thought we played a solid two periods and a really good third period. Washington is a really good team, really structurally coached and I thought we came out and responded pretty well tonight."
Edmonton had a couple of penalties called against them in the first but were able to withstand Washington's attack. With Alex Ovechkin setting up for his money one-timer, the Oilers penalty kill clogged up the passing lanes and managed to keep the Capitals man advantage off the board.
Talbot also came up big in the first period, making 11 saves through the first 20 minutes. Talbot's perfect first marked the first game this season that Washington was held without a goal in the opening period.
With the two teams still looking to break open the scoring, Talbot dove on Washington's 18th shot of the night at 12:44 of the second frame. Talbot's save came moments after Oilers rookie Jesse Puljujarvi had a nice check on Ovechkin to disrupt a prime scoring chance.
The Oilers were keeping the Capitals off the board, but were struggling to generate their own offence at the start of the second. Seven minutes in, Edmonton still hadn't generated their first shot of the frame.
Then, at 7:48 of the second, Edmonton got their break. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skated across the Washington blueline, stopped short and crossed over Dmitry Orlov to cut into the slot. The Oilers centre then whipped a shot on Braden Holtby to make it 1-0 for the home team. Benoit Pouliot got a piece of it on the way in, and was credited with the goal.
The Oilers, despite being outshot by the Capitals, made it 2-0 with Pouliot's second of the game. Pouliot gathered the puck off the boards behind the net and flicked a shot off the backside of Holtby at 17:08 of the middle frame.
A moment later, there was a big scrum at the Oilers net. T.J. Oshie crashed the crease and hacked at Talbot after the play. The Oilers goaltender took exception and, as bodies piled up, jumped into the fray, throwing punches at the forward. Oshie got a cross-checking call for his part, and the Oilers fans in attendance cheered when Talbot's roughing penalty was announced.
Talbot's bid for a second-straight goose egg was quashed just nine seconds into the third when Ovechkin battled his way to the net and jammed home the loose puck underneath the goaltender, ending his shutout streak at 136:32.
Edmonton quickly rebounded to make it 3-1 when Connor McDavid found Jesse Puljujarvi back door on a rush. The puck hit the post, rebounded out and a trailing Maroon buried for his second of the season, at 1:25 of the third.
"It says a lot. It says we don't deflate on the bench when a team scores," said Maroon. "Even though we had the lead, sometimes - comparing last year - we could say 'here we go again.' This year, it's different. They scored and everyone started talking on the bench, everyone has positive vibes and we scored a minute later. That's always a really good thing to see."
The Oilers increased their lead to 4-1 when Milan Lucic tipped in a point shot by Andrej Sekera, on the power play, at 9:53 of the third. McDavid recorded the second assist to regain the NHL scoring lead.
"From top to bottom, I think everyone stepped up and played a real strong game tonight," said Lucic. "We talked about how well we had to play defensively and keep them on the outside to give ourselves the best chance to win. Mistakes are going to happen and they're going to get their chances. 'Talbs' has been really good since that Buffalo loss. He kept us in it with some big saves and we were able to pounce on some opportunities, especially in the second period off the rush. It ends up being a big win here against a very good team."
The home team passed the test in what was seen as a "measuring-stick" game, coming away with the victory, thanks largely to the continued success of their netminder. The Oilers (6-1-0) now hit the road to play in Vancouver on Friday.