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Canadiens vs Oilers recap: How The West Was Lost

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The dreaded western swing continues as the Canadiens rolled into Edmonton Thursday evening

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens surely wanted to forget about their embarrassing 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks this past Tuesday as they took on the Edmonton Oilers for the first time this season.


Image Credit: HockeyStats.ca

The Canadiens have lost three in a row to the Oilers, having been out-scored 11-6. Coming into this game, the Habs wanted to push past their loss to Vancouver and earn their 10th win of the season, while the Oilers were looking to end a three-game losing streak.

Paul Byron got his first nod and subbed in for Alexander Semin who was a healthy scratch on Thursday night. Byron slotted in on the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly, while Brian Flynn was given second line rights alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller.

But would this change-up translate to some on-ice chemistry?

The first penalty came a mere 30 seconds into the first period, as Alexei Emelin was called for hooking.

Thankfully, that was not enough to dampen the Habs' mindset as about half-way through the period, P.K. Subban let go a harmless shot which was beautifully redirected by Brendan Gallagher in front of the net. Cue power play goal celebrations from Habs fans everywhere.

Smith-Pelly was a force to be reckoned with, and managed to get the puck over to Mitchell who went top shelf on Cam Talbot. With a few minutes left in the period, Andrei Markov and his unreal vision slid a flawless cross-ice pass over to Galchenyuk who was waiting on Talbot's door step. End of the first, Montreal out shot Edmonton 11-5, and the score is 3-0.

It was a relatively quiet second period, though the Oilers began to find their feet again. The Habs' best chance came on a 2 on 1 with Dale Weise sending over a nifty little pass to Subban who hit the crossbar.

Towards the end of the period, the Oilers were on their third power play of the game and Leon Draisaitl (who was called up today) deflected the puck into the net. Emelin attempted to glove the puck to save the goal, but upon further review, the puck clearly crossed the line. Right at the buzzer, Pacioretty took a tripping penalty against Connor McDavid and the Habs started the third shorthanded.

Friends, the third period is where the fun really ended. Following matching roughing penalties for Benoit Pouliot and Subban, McDavid made a great play to get Brandon Davidson the puck who scored his first of the season. Meanwhile, Weise misses a wide open net.

The frame did however yield a great highlight, when Subban saved a goal by masterfully knocking down the puck and quickly clearing it.

Then, without surprise, McDavid makes yet another heads up play, passing out to Pouilot on a breakaway and we have a tie game. With just 1:02 left, Draisaitl notches his second of the game on a rebound after David Desharnais is easily knocked off the puck by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Shots were 27-21 in favour of Edmonton who absolutely had the Habs' number toward the last half of the game. It was obvious that the Canadiens got a little too comfortable with their 3 goal lead.

Final Thoughts:

  • I think it's safe to say that Semin was not the problem.
  • The team lost its aggressive edge early on and sat back on their lead, which resulted in the Oilers capitalizing on the Habs' weaknesses and (impressively) getting four unanswered goals for the win in regulation. This simply can't happen.
  • The Habs still lead the league, but their last few games have been underwhelming to say the least.
  • On a lighter note, hearing 'Carey' chants in Rexall Place was just plain awesome.