How to watch
Start time: **5:00 PM EDT / 2:00 PM PDT**
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Oilers region: Sportsnet West
In the U.S.: NHL Network
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Rather than wait to see what the teams behind them could do to improve their playoff odds, the Canadiens took matters into their own hands on Monday, coming back from multiple deficits to tie the game versus the Edmonton Oilers, and that was all they needed to stamp their ticket to the post-season.
Connor McDavid ensured that was all they got, but a breakaway in overtime that led to his winner was perhaps the least upsetting goal he’s scored against Montreal in his career. He added to his astronomical season point total, the Canadiens kept their loser point, and both teams skated off the ice content.
While both teams enjoyed their day off yesterday, the Winnipeg Jets took the last bit of intrigue out of the North Division races with a rather anticlimactic 5-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The victory cemented the Jets in third place and earned a first-round meeting with the Oilers, while the Canadiens now know they’ll be facing the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Before the teams get to those anticipated series, they first need to wrap up their regular-season slates. For Montreal, that concludes with a rematch with the Oilers.
Tale of the Tape
|54.4% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||49.0% (16th)|
|2.82 (17th)||Goals per game||3.30 (7th)|
|2.93 (19th)||Goals against per game||2.72 (10th)|
|19.3% (19th)||PP%||27.4% (1st)|
|79.3% (18th)||PK%||82.1% (11th)|
The biggest story from the game on Monday was a line of Artturi Lehkonen, Jake Evans, and Paul Byron that combined for not one, not two, not three, but four, but then really just three goals on the night to account for every bit of Montreal’s offence. Of course it was the cursed Lehkonen who had a goal taken off the board for being the first player over the blue line on a trio of speedsters, but he got his payback with a poor bit of goaltending from Mikko Koskinen who turned a routine save into a goal against. It marked the second consecutive season than a Lehkonen tally earned Montreal a spot in the 16-team playoff bracket after he had eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in round a year ago.
We learned after the game that Dominique Ducharme had told the three players beforehand that they would be matching up versus McDavid on the night, needing a 60-minute effort from some of the lesser lights to contain the league’s most prolific offensive star. The head coach probably didn’t expect them all to end the night +2 or better, but now that they have he’ll probably have to keep the unit together for today’s game and perhaps even the opening match of round one. It may depend on how the line performs today, but the fact that the opposing coach is forced to game plan around a bottom-six combination is already a big development with the playoffs around the corner.
The remaining task for the regular season is to get everyone at their best for when the puck drops in Game 1 (whenever that may be; the general opinion seems to be May 19 right after the final game between the Canucks and Flames). Considering that Montreal will be wrapping up a stretch of 25 games in 44 days, the best thing to do may be to rest as many players as possible.
It seems as though Monday was Jake Allen’s last game of the season as he wasn’t on the ice yesterday, so it’ll be up to Cayden Primeau to step in for a do-over following his overwhelming experience versus the Maple Leafs last time out. Or perhaps the team lists Allen as unavailable to play and brings up Charlie Lindgren on an emergency basis to get his first NHL game of the season, and first of any kind since April 9 with the Laval Rocket.
The team may decide to do what the Boston Bruins did last night and just rule out the star players and bring in the full taxi squad to replace them. If that’s the case, there could be an NHL debut or two, but we’ll have to see what the plan is when the coach speaks ahead of the final match of the 56-game schedule.