CANADIENS (7-1-0) @ OILERS (3-4-1)
The Canadiens will begin their annual trip to Western Canada on Monday night with a tilt in Edmonton against the Oilers.
In their most recent outing on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, Michel Therrien’s troops handed the New York Rangers a 3-1 defeat, snapping the Blueshirts’ winning streak at three games. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring for the Canadiens with a short-handed tally in the first period, before Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty added the Habs’ two other markers to secure the team’s fourth straight win. Carey Price turned aside 34 shots to register his sixth win in seven outings this season. By picking up their seventh win in eight games to start the regular season, the Canadiens are off to their best start since the 1961-62 campaign when they began the year with a 7-0-1 record.
If Montreal is off to a stellar start to the season, the Oilers have certainly righted the ship as of late. After starting the year with five straight losses, including four in regulation time, Edmonton got back on track by registering three straight wins. Their most recent victory was convincing to say the least, as Dallas Eakins’ contingent downed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 on Friday night. Jordan Eberle scored two goals, while young gun Leon Draisaitl, who was selected third overall by the Oilers in 2014, scored his first career NHL goal. Ben Scrivens stopped 27 of 30 shots against to up his record to 3-3-0 on the year.
Michel Therrien will make a pair of lineup changes heading into Monday’s game, notably giving Dustin Tokarski his second start of the year and first since an October 9 win over Washington. Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will also be back in action, taking Jarred Tinordi's spot on the blue line.
Therrien will have to ensure that the Canadiens pay close attention to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins come Monday night. The Oilers forward is heating up, having lit the lamp in the team’s last three games. For their part, Edmonton will have to try to shut down P.K. Subban, who has scored two goals and registered four points in his last three games.
Monday night’s tilt will be the first of two games between the two clubs during the 2014-15 campaign. The Canadiens and Oilers split the season series last year, with both teams posting road wins. Montreal boasts a 19-20-2 all-time record in the Albertan capital, and have come out on top once in their last two visits to Rexall Place.