NHL Hockey

3
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Montreal 1 1 1 3
Edmonton 0 0 1 1
1
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET0:00 BRT, January 18, 2021
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta  Attendance: 0

Canadiens chasing sweep vs. slow-starting Oilers

Montreal Canadiens at Edmonton Oilers

  1. The Canadiens defeated the Oilers, 5-1, in Edmonton on Saturday, their largest road win over the Oilers since March 15, 1980 (7-3). That was Edmonton's first season in the NHL. Montreal has not played two games in Edmonton in the same season since 2001-02.
  2. Montreal's nine goals this season mark its most through two games since 1996-97. In the last 40 seasons, Montreal has scored at least nine goals in the first two games six times (including 2020-21) -- the Habs have made the playoffs in each of the previous five such seasons.
  3. Former Oiler Jeff Petry scored two goals against the team he started his NHL career with back in 2010-11. Petry has points in five consecutive games against his old team with three goals and five assists over that span.
  4. Tomas Tatar has three goals on three shots on goal through two games of 2020-21. The last Canadien to have three or more goals in their first two games on 100% shooting was Brian Savage in 1996-97 (three goals on three shots on goal).
  5. Edmonton scored at 12:59 into the third period in Saturday's 5-1 loss, the 76th consecutive home game the Oilers have scored a goal -- the longest active streak without being shut out at home. It also marks the fourth-longest streak in franchise history; the last time they had a longer streak was a 78-game run from December 2003 to November 2006.
  6. Connor McDavid assisted on the Oilers goal on Saturday, extending his streak of consecutive games against Montreal with a point to seven (3g, 9a). Only three Oilers have had longer point streaks against the Habs (Glenn Anderson, 10; Wayne Gretzky, 10 and Esa Tikkanen, 8).

The statistics did not bear out for Carey Price last season, but his teammates' confidence has never wavered.

The Montreal Canadiens goaltender finished the abbreviated 2019-20 NHL season 38th in the NHL with a 2.79 goals-against average and 48th in save percentage at .909.

Long considered one of the league's finest goaltenders, Price stood up to a high-octane Edmonton Oilers offense Saturday in a 5-1 road victory that was the first game of a back-to-back, and he could be called on again when the teams meet again Monday.

"It could have been a different game if we didn't have him back there," the Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher said. "(The Oilers) have some great players and I thought we did a pretty decent job, but we have a pretty great one between the pipes to make those saves. He's so calm, so cool, and that allows you to keep the momentum on your side."

Price hasn't registered much success against the Oilers over his career. Including Saturday's effort, he has 4-9-1 record against Edmonton, a .872 save percentage and a 3.45 goals-against average.

He made 34 saves Saturday, including a big one on a Connor McDavid breakaway. The Canadiens were up only 1-0 late in the first period when McDavid stole the puck at the Oilers blue line to create a partial breakaway. Just before his shot, Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson reached out with a stick check and Price was able to make a save.

"Probably the best player in the world coming down on him, but you're sitting on the bench and you just know he's going to make the save," Gallagher said.

Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar handled the Canadiens' scoring with two goals each. Jake Evans added one, while Phillip Danault and Gallagher each had two assists.

"We're pretty confident with the depth that we have," Gallagher said. "If we can hold each other accountable to show up and come at teams in waves like that ... we can come at teams four lines deep. We feel like anyone who's on the ice can get the job done."

Left to figure out what has gone wrong, McDavid said the Oilers need to be better at the outset of games. Edmonton just wrapped up a back-to-back series in Vancouver, losing 5-3 to the Canucks on Wednesday before winning 5-2 on Thursday.

"Playing three games in three and a half days is a lot coming out the gate," McDavid said. "But not making any excuses for ourselves, we have to be better. We have to win more battles. They were the more rested team and they showed that, but I don't think our battle level was good enough."

With McDavid limited to two shots on goal Saturday, the Oilers were shut down at every turn until Slater Koekkoek scored, spoiling Price's shutout bid late in the third period.

"We had some chances, but once we got chasing the game, got loose, we made some mistakes that allowed them to expand the lead and we chased it the rest of the way," Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said. "You've got to continue to pound away. You've got to find ways to win games. You're going to do that with consistency in how you play."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 17, 2021

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