How McDavid and Talbot are making winners out of the Oilers
So far, so good.
Powered by teenage captain Connor McDavid and backstopped by goaltender Cam Talbot, the Edmonton Oilers have the look of a team capable of making serious noise in the Western Conference, or at least challenging for their first playoff spot in a decade.
This new reality was on full display Wednesday, as the Oilers took it to the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners on home ice, beating the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-1.
McDavid did not score and recorded a single shot on goal, but his fingerprints were all over this one.
In short, without McDavid, there's no way the Oilers out-attempt a team like the Capitals.
The pair of assists give McDavid 11 points in seven games, propelling him atop the NHL's scoring leader board, a position he's not likely to relinquish anytime soon.
Talbot in control
After mixed results in his first season with the club, Talbot has shone in net for the Oilers so far this season, with 34 saves in the win over Washington just the latest example.
Over his last four starts, Talbot has allowed only four goals, stopping 130 of 134 shots for a save percentage of .970.
While he will most likely be unable maintain that level of success, his .924 career mark would put him among the NHL's top 10 at his position, providing the kind of goaltending needed to complement what should be an explosive offense as well as cover for what remains an incomplete blue line.
Success within small sample size
Yes, it's still early. Very early. But the win over the Capitals legitimizes what was already an impressive start.
Heading into Wednesday's action, Edmonton had posted a record of 5-1-0 - its best start in 31 years - albeit at the expense of a bevy of subpar teams. Case in point, the Oilers earned wins over Calgary, Carolina, Winnipeg and, most impressively, St. Louis to go along with a loss to Buffalo.
Not since the glory days have the Oilers started a season with such success.
And with McDavid leading the charge and Talbot staying back to clean up any messes, another round of glory days could very well be ahead.