This is the story of a league where, whether its name is Tom Wilson or the Edmonton Oilers, what comes next. Almost every time.
Just 12 days ago, the Oilers disputed a tough 1-0 fight when Anaheim scored with his goalkeeper pulled and 17 seconds to play. Then they watched the ducks steal the second point with an overtime goal. Vadio.
Fast forward to St. Louis on Wednesday night, where the Oilers had more than their share in the play. But with a bad start and an anemic offense, there was Cam Talbot sitting on the bench with a minute to play, a deficit of 2-1 and an extra striker trying to find something, anything that might offend.
Suddenly, boom! Oscar Klefbom's one-timer equaled the game, and the Oilers went to victory in a shootout.
At that point did they explode in Anaheim? The team has just come back against the Blues, and with home games on Friday and Sunday against major opponents West, Minnesota and Calgary, the Oilers have positioned themselves to make something good happen after a brutal November.
Some takeaways from St. Louis where a sudden victory erases what were just negative moments just before.
Thus, Cam Talbot can win, even if there have been doubts during a series of six personal defeats.
This was only a reward for Talbot, who had no chance in the first two goals of St. Louis, both coming up with a low-grade job in the D zone of his skaters. He had a 0.933 economy percentage and simply closed the door after the Blues came out ahead 2-0. He does not do it and there is no chance of a return to late goals or a shootout, right?
See what we know about these Oilers: they are not looking like a team that will score a lot. IT'S OK. Thus, goalkeepers who let in no more than two per night will be imperative if this ship is to navigate to the playoffs.
Mikko Koskinen stole Talbot's first job. Now he's punching him back, a good sign in those parts.
Oscar or Cinch
In a defense with basically an offensive threat, oh boy Klefbom found the right time to warm up for the Oilers.
He has seven points in his last six games, scored the November 27 winner against Dallas and had the tie on a solid 56-tick clock on St. Louis. He played more than 30 minutes (overtime included) on Wednesday, and although he probably asked a lot of him for a team that has no offense, Klefbom has turned into a guy who gives him everything he has every night of schedule.
He saved the day Wednesday by sending the Oilers home from the road at 500, and back on track in the west.
At first we thought, "Okay, it's going to take some time." With Ken Hitchcock, the Edmonton Oilers would figure out how to keep the disc on the net, and then the goals would come.
Knock your foot.
In eight games under Ken Hitchcock, Edmonton Oilers scored 16 goals (the goal is not included). They are 5-2-0-1, which is really amazing considering they have an average of two goals per game.
So what's the problem? What became clear with Peter Chiarelli's Tankers is that they do not score enough on their wings. The scoring bundle falls to three defenders – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl (serving in the wing) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored on Wednesday.
They need help, and returning Tobias Rieder should soon help a little.
Discounting Draisaitl, a natural center that is playing with McDavid, Alex Chiasson leads all the Oilers wings with 11 goals. Drake Caggiula has seven. After that, not a single wing of the tankers, through 28 games this season, has more than two goals.
With three goals now, Klefbom has more goals than Milan Lucic, Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira (one each), and Jesse Puljujarvi, Ty Rattie and Kyle Brodziak (two each).
Edmonton dominated possession against the Blues, but needed a 60th minute strike to score a second goal. As Teemu Selanne used to say, the bottle of Ketchup is certainly connected now.
What is up…
There is a growing outcry in the Edmonton market over the lack of calls McDavid receives from the NHL referees. There is some merit there, but it must also be recognized when the leads go in the way of the Oilers – and on Wednesday they have a certain challenge.
After losing 2-1 in the second period, Matt Benning nudged Vladimir Tarasenko as he crossed in front of the Oilers area. Tarasenko hit Talbot, who fell when Zach Sanford shoved a disc into the Edmonton net.
The goal was not allowed, and replays showed that Tarasenko was undoubtedly pushed to Talbot. It was a break that took a goal off the board.
They are no luckier than that.