Montreal Canadiens stay hot with 5-2 win over Edmonton Oilers

The Montreal Canadiens continued to excel under new head coach Martin St. Louis, beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Saturday night at Rogers Place.

“They’ve been playing well since their coaching change and they were better than us tonight,” Connor McDavid said after the game.

“We’ll digest it, we’re going to work on something in practice and then we’ll move on from there,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said in his post-game analysis.

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The Canadiens struck first when Cole Caufield walked in from the point and wristed a shot past Mike Smith. Evander Kane replied 21 seconds later, taking a pass from Leon Draisaitl and whapping in his eighth of the season. In the final minute of the first, Brendan Gallagher tallied on the power play to make it 2-1 Montreal.

“Their power play was good. Ours wasn’t. That’s kind of the difference,” McDavid said.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers end road trip with OT loss in Chicago

Zach Hyman drove the net in the second period. Ryan McLeod followed up the play and tucked in his first goal since Jan. 22. The Canadiens challenged for goalie interference as Hyman bumped Sam Montembault on the play, but officials ruled there wasn’t enough to overturn the play.

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Read more: Edmonton Oilers end road trip with OT loss in Chicago

That set off a video review. Nick Suzuki’s power play goal was overturned as the Canadiens were found to be offside 27 seconds earlier. Suzuki would come right back and score one that counted to make it 3-2 Montreal. With the Oilers on a power play, Laurent Dauphin went in alone and tucked the puck under Smith. Again, the Oilers successfully challenged for offside to stay within one.

“We lost the special teams battle,” Woodcroft said after the game. “Our power play, although it had a few chances, didn’t generate the way we wanted it to.”

Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard did not come out for the third period. Woodcroft said Bouchard was experiencing a non-COVID-related illness.

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In the third, Brett Kulak stormed in shorthanded and threw a pass in front to Artturi Lehkonen, who beat a sprawling Smith. Mike Hoffman added an empty netter.

The Canadiens have won seven of their last eight. Montembault made 28 saves.

The Oilers, 30-22-4, will play in Calgary on Monday.

With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED

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