It has not been the kindest season to Jeff Petry, but despite the occasional defensive misstep, the Montreal Canadiens defender has been the fairly steady presence fans have come to know since his trade to Montreal. On Saturday night in Edmonton, Petry shone on the Canadiens’ blue line, compiling his best game of the year offensively, and against the team that traded him away for pennies on the dollars.
Coming into the game versus the Oilers, Petry had not scored a goal since December 3 against the New York Islanders and had added just a single assist in that same time frame. Against the Oilers, Petry broke out of his slump in a big way, tallying three points on the night in a game where he almost single-handedly pushed the Canadiens to a point.
His short-handed goal was a fantastic piece of work, using his great skating to exit the Montreal zone with speed and push the Oilers defenders back far enough to give him a clean shooting lane on Mikko Koskinen, whom he beat on his glove side. His power play work continues to be impressive, as his mobility adds a different dimension when compared to Shea Weber, and his shot was sent in perfectly for Phillip Danault to redirect for a goal. Finally, while not as big as the other two points, his breakout pass to Artturi Lehkonen is what kicked off the series of events that led to Max Domi’s highlight-reel goal at the expense of Darnell Nurse.
He had three points on the night, two of them primary, and all of them likely highly satisfying for Petry, a player who was seemingly pushed out by management and maligned by Oilers fans.
Edmonton may have gotten the win, but for a player who was going through a major slump, this is the kind of game that can reignite one’s offence. With a game against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, then two massive games in Florida looming on the schedule, and facing the tight race in the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens will be counting on Petry to provide offence like he did in Edmonton on Saturday.