“He was sick in Buffalo (missing a start on Nov. 24) and actually in Detroit he tweaked something up top but we didn’t think anything of it,” McLellan said. “That day off, change in schedule as far as not playing allowed him to feel better.
“We came home the other night after the game (against Arizona) and he didn’t feel good so we had it looked at and he’s obviously on IR now. We don’t think he’ll be available for at least two weeks and it could be longer.”
McLellan said Talbot’s injury is not a concussion.
Talbot is 10-10-1 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .903 save percentage in 22 games, all starts. He finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting last season after leading the NHL with 44 victories and 73 appearances, finishing with a 2.39 GAA.
The Oilers (10-13-2) are seventh in the Pacific Division after advancing to the Western Conference Second Round last season. They play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNW, TSN4).
Backup Laurent Brossoit, 24, will start against Toronto. The native of Port Alberni, British Columbia has made 23 NHL starts, including three this season (0-3-1, 3.31 GAA, .881 save percentage).
“I feel great,” Brossoit said after the morning skate Thursday. “Obviously under these circumstances you never want to see a teammate go down. But of course, in my position as a backup, I’m looking for an opportunity and this is a great chance for that.”
Brossoit said he won’t be overwhelmed by the stage or playing against the Maple Leafs.
“It’s the NHL, it’s always going to be intimidating,” he said. “I don’t think there are many guys here that don’t get nervous before games, but it’s dealing with the nerves and learning how to do that is the big thing that I think I’ve been able to manage that.
“Every game, every minute played out there I feel a little more comfortable. It brings more comfort for me and it’s just experience, and I’m looking forward to getting some more. I think it’s huge (opportunity) but I don’t want to make it bigger than it needs to be. It’s just one day and I’m going to take it as that.”
Brossoit allowed three goals in his past two starts (0-1-1), when the Oilers scored two goals in the two games. He also gave up six goals on 37 shots in relief of Talbot during an 8-3 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 21.
“Every pitcher needs run support,” McLellan said. “That’s an analogy for the goaltender. We have to give him some goal support when we can but that being said, we can’t just run around and play loose. We have to protect the position. We have to take our defensive game, our penalty-kill game up so that he feels comfortable and we can put him in the best situation possible to have success, and we believe he can.”
Defenseman Darnell Nurse said the Oilers need focus, not worry, with Talbot out.
“When your backup goes in, you want to be there to support him but at the same time, we know he’s very capable,” Nurse said. “We’re going to have to be very strong defensively but we have a lot of faith in him. It’s going to be important for us to maintain our focus on defense, be in the right spots, make his life as easy as possible.”
Goalie Nick Ellis was recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League and will back up Brossoit on Thursday. Ellis, 23, is 5-5-1 with a 2.82 GAA and .914 save percentage in 11 games.