Talbot makes 33 saves, earns sixth shutout season as Oilers blank Canucks
EDMONTON — The Oilers didn't need to wrack up seven goals to beat the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Cam Talbot made 33 saves to record his sixth shutout of the year as the Oilers continued their hot play of late with a 2-0 victory over the Canucks, a win coming on the heels of scoring seven goals in each of their two previous victories over Dallas and Boston.
Connor McDavid and Mark Letestu scored for the Oilers (38-24-9), who have won three straight games.
"You never expect to keep putting up seven goals a game," Talbot said. "We knew that wasn't going to happen. These are the games that are playoff hockey coming down the stretch, 1-0 and 2-0 games. I thought we did a pretty good job of showing that we can win these tight games, too."
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who picked up a pair of assists to give him seven points in his last three games, agreed.
"I don't think there's going to be one game in the playoffs that's going to be 7-1," he said. "I would be really surprised if there is. These games, in years past we found ways to lose and this season we seem to find ways to win."
The Canucks (28-34-9) have now lost six straight.
"We hit a lot of posts," said Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin. "Their goalie played well, but I thought we deserved to score at least a couple."
There was no scoring in the first period, with it tied 8-8 in shots. The Canucks had the best chance, with Christopher Tanev ringing a shot off the post with six minutes to play in the opening frame.
Edmonton finally broke the scoreless deadlock with 3:18 remaining in the second period as McDavid cut in with speed and beat Vancouver goalie Richard Bachman high to the glove side for his 25th goal of the season, putting back in the NHL scoring lead with 80 points.
Talbot made a pair of big saves on Vancouver's Markus Granlund in the second period, including one just before the buzzer sounded, to keep it 1-0 through 40 minutes.
Vancouver came close to tying it up once again midway through the third, hitting a post. Then during a major scrum in front of the Oilers net, the Canucks were unable to push the puck across the goal line.
Edmonton made it 2-0 with 4:38 left in the third period, as Draisaitl made a great cross-ice feed to Letestu, who one-timed a shot past Bachman for his career-best 14th goal of the season.
"They are a hard team to handle and I thought we did a good job containing them as much as we did," said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. "But it is still disappointing not to get some points."
The Oilers close out a season-high eight-game homestand on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks play the second game of a five-game trip on Tuesday in Chicago.
Notes: It was the third of five meetings this season between the two teams. Edmonton won the first game 2-0 in October, with the Canucks taking the second contest 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 31… Bachman got just his second start of the season in net for the Canucks. The former Oiler was called up from the AHL on Feb. 27 after Jacob Markstrom sustained a lower-body injury… Tanev returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with food poisoning.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press
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