clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Canadiens @ Oilers game recap: Three-goal second period paves way to first win

New, comments

The offence and Carey Price came to play on Saturday night.

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

Three goals in under seven minutes and great play from Carey Price was the difference as the Montreal Canadiens won their first game of the season with a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night at Rogers Place.

Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar both scored twice, while Price made 34 saves in the victory.

The first period started with a flurry of back-and-forth action, with Josh Anderson picking up where he left off getting the first of his several chances early on. The Oilers had chances of their own in the opening four minutes, but Price was strong.

The best chance for the Canadiens early on was by Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli was sprung on a breakaway on a great stretch pass from Jonathan Drouin, but Mikko Koskinen made the save as Toffoli wasn’t able to get his best shot off.

The Canadiens opened the scoring on the power play. After Paul Byron drew an interference call, Petry took his own hand pass after going around the net and put the puck in the open side past Koskinen.

Montreal would continue to push a few minutes after when Brendan Gallagher had a chance, but the puck went off the post and off Koskinen. Tatar had a shot that went wide as well.

Price was tested a few times, including on a breakaway chance by Connor McDavid but he stood tall, stopping the star.

Anderson would continue to put up chances through just speed and hustle, beating out an icing, leading to offensive zone pressure. A few minutes later, his puck retrieval led to a plethora of chances from the Canadiens, including shots from Shea Weber, and Ben Chiarot.

The shots were 15-9 in the opening period, and the scoring chances 13-6. It was only a one-goal lead after the frame, making you wonder if Montreal would rue the missed opportunities.

They would not.

After killing off a Shea Weber penalty to start the second period, the Canadiens would take complete control of the game with three goals in the first half of the second period.

“We liked how we were playing for the most part,” Gallagher said about the team’s first period. “We knew we had a job to do. That’s the good thing about having a lot of veterans in the room, everyone knew what they would have to do.”

The run started shortly after the Weber penalty. A few seconds after it expired, Joel Edmundson jumped up on McDavid, causing a turnover in the neutral zone and leading to a great passing play that saw Tomas Tatar finish the play with a great shot into the top corner.

Petry would get his second of the game putting a shot on net that Koskinen saved but the rebound bounced off of Ethan Bear and into the net. Bear was in a battle with Tatar in front of the net. That made the score 3-0.

After Artturi Lehkonen took a delay of game penalty, a back-and-forth sequence finished the run. After some Oiler passing led to a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins chance, the play went the other way. Price made the big save, and Jake Evans had a two-on-one with Paul Byron.

Evans decided to keep it and put in his own rebound to make the score 4-0. Evans also had a shorthanded chance earlier in the period. It was his first goal of the season.

Price continued his strong play throughout the game as the Oilers just tried to generate anything that would give them some momentum going into Monday’s game.

Montreal made it 5-0 when Tatar scored his second goal of the game when Brendan Gallagher launched him on a breakaway. Tatar made no mistake, scoring five hole like he did in Wednesday’s game against Toronto.

The only thing left to see in the closing minutes of the game was whether Price would get his first shutout of the season. He would not. Slater Koekkoek would pounce on a loose puck after his shot was blocked and beat Price up high.

The game did get physical late, with Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, and Artturi Lehkonen all getting knocked, but despite not playing the final few minutes of the game, Anderson would be declared good to go by Claude Julien, who used the opportunity to get his fourth line more playing time.

The two teams will play the second half of their two-game series on Monday night before the Canadiens head to Vancouver for three games to complete their season-opening road trip.

Thoughts

  • What struck me throughout the game was how Claude Julien paid no attention to matching up against the McDavid line. Having Joel Armia, Paul Byron, and Artturi Lehkonen makes it easy for him to trust all four lines. Brett Kulak and Alexander Romanov on the third pairing makes it easy on that front as well.
  • Carey Price is looking engaged, active and is attacking shooters. He was doing it in the bubble, and I didn’t see it in Toronto. He was peak Carey Price on Saturday.
  • I have a feeling we’re going to get a different line making noise every game. It’s not that the Anderson-Suzuki-Drouin line didn’t get any chances — they did, but teams will overcommit to stopping one line opening things up for another one to step up. The Tatar-Danault-Gallagher line did that tonight, and it’s a matter of time before the Toffoli-Kotkaniemi-Armia line converts.
  • Speaking of Toffoli, he had a tough game. He was in the right spots and got opportunities but the puck just wasn’t going where he wanted it to go when he had it. You don’t forget how to calibrate your puck skills, so it’s just a matter of time before he gets it right. I’d much rather him miss opportunities than not get them at all.