NHL

Oilers mum on goalie choice ahead of Preds' visit

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Oilers goalie Cam Talbot is the definition of a workhorse. He has appeared in 42 of the team's 47 games this year. He started Edmonton's past five games, winning the past four.

The Oilers host the Nashville Predators on Friday, then visit the Calgary Flames on Saturday, wrapping up an eight-day period in which they play five games. Will Talbot start both, or will Laurent Brossoit, called up last week from the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif., finally get a chance to play in an NHL game this season?

Coach Todd McLellan didn't make any announcements Thursday.

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"We have two goaltenders, our goal is to win games, and that's what we're doing," McLellan said. "We're not in the development phase right now, as far as goaltenders go. We'll talk as a staff after the (Friday) morning skate, we'll see how both of them felt, consult with Dustin (Schwartz, the goaltending coach) on where they're at, and we'll know (in the) morning who's starting."

Brossoit lost to the Predators in one of his five NHL games last season.

Talbot was the backup to Henrik Lundqvist with the New York Rangers before he came to the Oilers ahead of the 2015-16 season. When he backed up one of the league's top goalies, he knew he wasn't going to see a lot of game action, so he spent a lot of extra time working in practice -- and he said that has helped prepare him to be the most-utilized goalie in the NHL this year.

"You gain that endurance, and hopefully one day you'll need it," he said. "I've been able to use that tool this year, it's been a combination of trying to manage my workload on and off the ice."'

The Oilers are on a four-game win streak, but three of those victories came in overtime or a shootout. Edmonton beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 Wednesday, as NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid scored the winner with just 2.6 seconds left in overtime.

The Predators started backup goalie Juuse Saros on Thursday in a 4-3 win over the Flames at Calgary, so look for workhorse Pekka Rinne to get the call in goal Friday in Edmonton.

James Neal broke an eight-game scoreless skid with a goal against Calgary on Thursday. Neal now has 15 goals of the season -- but he recorded a hat trick in Edmonton on March 14, 2016.

The Predators will play the fourth of a five-game road trip in Edmonton, and they won two of the first three.

"We're moving forward," Nashville right winger Craig Smith said. "We're going in the right direction. That's all you can really ask for right now. We've got a good feeling, and we want to keep the positivity. We've got a lot of different guys scoring, so that's huge, too.

"It's going to be exciting in that new rink (Edmonton's Rogers Place). I haven't seen it yet. They're a pretty quick team, but we've got a quick team in here. We're excited to get up there and keep going."

Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said the Predators know McDavid and speedy winger Leon Draisaitl (17 goals), will present problems.

"They're a highly skilled team," Ellis said. "They've got McDavid and Draisaitl, guys that can make plays, so we'll get as much rest as we can."

Oilers left winger Jujhar Khaira, who left the Wednesday win over Florida with an upper-body injury, saw a doctor on Thursday. McLellan said that Khaira is definitely out of the lineup for Friday's date with the Predators. The Oilers called up center Anton Lander from Bakersfield to fill the vacant roster spot.

The Predators were not only active on the ice in Calgary on Thursday night, but the team's front office was active, as well. Nashville acquired defenseman Andrew O'Brien from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Swedish right winger Max Gortz. O'Brien is an AHL veteran, with 135 games played at that level.