The Montreal Canadiens have struggled against the Edmonton Oilers in recent memory. For whatever reason, even Carey Price hadn’t performed up to his expected level against the Alberta club in the past. Someone who has always come to play against the Oilers, and did so again on Saturday, was Jeff Petry, who was acquired for magic beans in 2015.
As Sportnet’s Eric Engels points out, since coming to Montreal, Petry has feasted on the Oilers in a big way:
In 10.5 games against Edmonton, former Oiler Jeff Petry has three goals and nine points.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) January 17, 2021
Petry’s two goals on Saturday helped to pace the Canadiens to a 5-1 win over an Oilers team coming off a victory over the Vancouver Canucks earlier in the week. After a two-assist performance against Toronto, Petry had to be looking forward to this game given his previous history.
The Habs came out early, dominating the shot advantage, but weren’t able to solve Mikko Koskinen immediately. This was a crucial point for Montreal; last year they typically allowed the first goal and deflated. On Saturday, Petry made his own luck for the opening goal, swatting a rebound out of the air, through Koskinen’s legs, and then circling the net to fire it home with ease.
While his first goal got the Canadiens’ offence into gear, his second one was the goal that put them firmly in the driver's seat, aided by Ethan Bear’s derrière.
That goal sucked the life out of the Oilers entirely. It was the kind of goal that the Canadiens rarely got last season to gain some breathing space in a game they were in full control of. It might be ugly, but Petry and the Habs aren’t complaining given the result.
With two games played, Petry currently leads all NHL defenders in scoring at the time of this article being written, and sits tied for sixth among all NHL players. The Canadiens needed another big season from Petry, even moreso after rewarding him with a new contract in the off-season. So far, he’s doing so in spades, picking up where he left off in the playoff bubble last year. With another game against the Oilers looming on Monday, he might add a few more points to his impressive start.