How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Oilers region: Sportsnet West
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live
After a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings (that’s right, the last-place Red Wings) on Tuesday night, the Canadiens extended their losing streak to seven games. With that loss, we heard the final gasp of their chances of making it to the post-season, pending a St. Louis Blues type miracle, of course. During the first period of the game, Nick Cousins served a two-minute minor for cross-checking Mike Green into the boards. The following day, Cousins was fined $2,688.17 for boarding as the NHL deemed that punishment wasn’t enough, and they were probably right. We’re all frustrated Nick, but come on.
The Canadiens just can’t seem to bring their leads to the finish line. In Tuesday night’s contest, they failed to hold on to their 2-0 lead and then later lost a 3-2 advantage. They’re trying, I’ll give them that, but with the loss of four key players Montreal just can’t get a win, let alone string several together, to keep some hope alive.
One small bright side this week is that Ilya Kovalchuk seems to be settling in quite nicely, racking up three points in his first two games.
Maybe hosting the Oilers tonight on home turf will bring out a win. Nevermind that the Canadiens are 8-10-4 at home and when they met Edmonton on December 21 the Oilers came away with a 4-3 victory. Clear heads. Onwards and upwards.
Tale of the Tape
|53.8% (3rd)||Corsi-for pct.||47.5% (27th)|
|3.11 (14th)||Goals per game||3.00 (18th)|
|3.23 (23rd)||Goals against per game||3.13 (18th)|
|21.7% (11th)||PP%||29.2% (1st)|
|77.6% (24th)||PK%||82.9% (5th)|
The Oilers are coming off a two-day break after a 6-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. To Toronto’s chagrin, Connor McDavid came to play that night. The captain had a four-point performance for the fourth time this season, and scored one of the most jaw-dropping goals of the year. Sure, it’s still early, but it’s definitely in the running to be the best goal of 2020.
People are still talking about the highlight-reel goal. Even teammate Alex Chiasson said it was the “nicest goal I’ve ever seen.” Did you catch it? You know, the moment where, on a one-on-one, McDavid looked as if he was waiting for backup. But he’s Connor McDavid. He doesn’t need any freakin’ backup. He faked out Morgan Rielly, changed direction ... it’s better if you just see for yourself.
WHAT A MOVE. WHAT A GOAL.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2020
New year, same Connor McDavid. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/mwNERgAx0X
The victory did put an end to the Leafs’ 10-game point streak (9-0-1) and snapped their home winning streak against the Oilers that dated back to February 6, 2012.
“We gave him too much space,” Auston Matthews admitted after the game. You heard him, Habs. Huddle up to McDavid every time he’s on the ice. Carey Price will deal with the rest.
The captain is currently leading the league in points (69) and assists (45) after 45 games and not far behind him is teammate Leon Draisaitl with 67 points and 42 assists. James Neal has also found some chemistry with new linemates McDavid and Zack Kassian.
The Oilers are currently in the playoff hunt, sitting in third place in the Pacific Division with Calgary hot on their heels. Unfortunately for the Canadiens, this winless streak has now put them seven points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps Marc Bergevin should listen to Oilers GM Ken Holland who, after their matchup on Monday, stated that they are wasting McDavid’s best years by not doing everything they can to make the playoffs.
The four missing forwards are working on getting back and it can’t come soon enough. Brendan Gallagher traveled with the team to Detroit but didn’t suit up. Fingers crossed he’s close to coming back to us and is ready to make up for some lost time.
Max Domi is trying his best to hold on to some glimmer of hope. “We believe in each other in this locker room,” he said after the loss in Detroit. “We’re going to push each other to get through this, but it’s going to take every guy. So starting with next game, we can do it. We know we can. We just gotta go out and execute now.”
The streak has to end some time. Right?