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Canadiens @ Oilers game recap: Montreal allows Edmonton to snap skid in 6-2 defeat

The Oilers’ top line came up big in victory on Tuesday night.

Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Tuesday night saw a battle of backup goaltenders in Edmonton, and it was the home team Oilers’ netminder who helped his team snap a four-game losing streak. The club putt up a six-spot and handily defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-2.

Mikko Koskinen, the Vantaa, Finland native, played his 10th career game in the tilt, and although he wasn’t really tested, he still made 27 saves for his fourth win of the season, and second career win against Montreal.

Image credit: Natural Stat Trick

Antti Niemi, of the same hometown, came up with a several huge saves versus the top line, more specifically forward Leon Draisaitl, making 37 saves in the loss, but also being responsible for a few of the ones that got past him.

The Oilers got on the scoresheet first when swift passing found blue-liner Matt Benning, and his point shot went off the back boards and trickled off Niemi’s left skate to put them up by one just over three minutes into the contest.

A couple of minutes later, just as a Noah Juulsen penalty expired for Montreal, Max Domi broke in down the wing and wired a shot top corner for his team-leading 10th goal of the season. Last season while playing all 82 games for the Arizona Coyotes, Domi had just nine, and thus eclipsed his season total from last year, and indeed each of the last two years.

Toward the end of the first frame, the duo of Draisaitl and Connor McDavid connected, and Draisaitl was able to put up his team-leading 11th of the young season, and gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead at the intermission.

It took Montreal just 70 seconds to equalize the score in the beginning of the second when Andrew Shaw scored his fourth goal in the team’s last three games, squeaking the puck past Koskinen.

However, just under two minutes after that, an odd bounce saw Oilers’ forward Drake Caggiula catch a puck in the air, drop it, fire it on Niemi, and the puck somehow found the tiniest of openings and put Edmonton up 3-2, in what eventually proved to be the game-winning goal.

The game remained 3-2 after the second, despite a huge shot differential and Edmonton dominating that category 29-17. Niemi stopped 17 of 18 in the middle period alone.

In the third, the wheels came fully off for Montreal. The first overall draft pick in 2011, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, found an opening: five-hole past Niemi to give his team some insurance.

The final two goals were scored again by blue-liners, with Kris Russell potting his first of the season, and then Nurse’s second to seal the deal for the Oilers.

Montreal did hang around for 40 minutes, but it just seemed as though they couldn’t put together the offence that they needed to come out and take one on the road.

Their western road trip continues, getting a much needed day to reflect tomorrow before heading down to Calgary for a tilt versus Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames. Carey Price, who has been struggling of late, going 1-3-1 in his last five contests, is expected to get the nod between the pipes for Montreal.

Calgary (10-7-1), who made a lot of off-season moves, currently have six players on their roster with 10 points or more. They also sit 4-2-1 as the host team this season, whereas Montreal is 3-3-2 as the visitor.

Thoughts

  • In the last 10 games, Montreal’s man advantage has been all but invisible, going a woeful 2-for-26. Their special teams needs some tweaking if they want to go far this season.
  • The Canadiens and Flames split both games last season, each winning by a 3-2 margin.
  • Max Domi has been held off the scoresheet only three times this season through the team’s first 18 games.