Grant Fuhr was standing in the hallway near the visiting dressing room at Honda Center wearing a gray Edmonton Oilers hoodie when Wayne Gretzky walked up.
“Let’s go meet Cam,” Gretzky said.
It was the kind of attention Oilers goalie Cam Talbot has earned but hasn’t necessarily received during a statement-making season.
Talbot wasn’t a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, presented to the best goalie in the NHL, despite setting a franchise record with 42 wins and breaking the mark set by Fuhr in 1987-88. Talbot played in 73 regular-season games, tied with Washington’s Braden Holtby in 2014-15 for the busiest workload by a goalie over the last five years.
And now Talbot has helped the Oilers to a 2-0 lead in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, making 39 saves in the 2-1 Game 2 win on Friday night.
“The one wearing the big pads was our hero tonight and had a tremendous game,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said. “They pushed us hard and they did a lot of good things tonight. While all that’s going on, the goaltender stood on his head.”
Patrick Maroon, who scored the winning goal, went one step further.
“He was excellent tonight and he’s been, like I’ve been telling everyone all year, he’s probably been our best player all year and he made some key saves tonight,” Maroon said.
It was a far cry from Talbot’s last visit to Orange County during the regular season on March 22. Talbot was pulled midway through the second period against the Ducks after giving up four goals on 18 shots. The following night in Colorado he again allowed four goals, this time on just 15 shots, with his heavy responsibilities seemingly leaving him mentally and physically fatigued with the playoffs just about to begin.
But Talbot has regained his form in the post-season. He posted consecutive shutouts in the first round against San Jose and nearly picked up another versus the Ducks. It took a blistering shot from Jakob Silfverberg on a power…