BROSSARD – The Edmonton Oilers will pay a visit to the Bell Centre Wednesday night to face-off against the Habs.
Currently occupying last place in the Western Conference, the Oilers have seen some tough times since the season started in October, but they've started to find their footing as a team in recent games. That’s a fact that Canadiens’ head coach Jacques Martin is paying close attention to, making it clear he’s not taking the Alberta team lightly.
“They’re a really young team with a lot of talent, and they’ve been playing better as of late. They’ve won three of their last five games,” Martin quickly pointed out. “We need to come out and establish a rhythm right from the start. This is the kind of team that becomes more and more dangerous the longer you let them stick around in a game.”
|Two of the Oilers' young guns, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. |
The initial 20 minutes of play should prove the most crucial for the Habs, especially considering the Oilers haven’t been known as a first period team this season, allowing the majority – 32 of their 86 goals against – in the opening frame.
“They’re probably going to be excited to play at the Bell Centre, to play in a market like Montreal,” continued Martin. “We need to be ready to come out like we did against Buffalo on Saturday and dominate the first period.”
One player on the Canadiens’ roster who has some experience with the Oilers’ top-rated youth is the Habs’ own young gun, P.K. Subban
who went up against first-overall pick Taylor Hall during his time in the OHL.
“He was a great player in juniors and he went No.1 overall for a reason,” explained the young Canadiens defenseman. “We didn’t see much of Windsor in Junior but whenever we did, we always recognized him as one of the top guys in the league. He’s great at putting the puck in the net so he’s someone we’re going to have to watch out for tonight.”
Another Oiler Subban is sure to be paying attention to is Jordan Eberle. The 20-year-old forward is currently tied for second place in scoring among Oilers with 15 points.
“Jordan’s a good player and he’s always been a really clutch guy. We had to bond pretty quickly when we were playing together, but when you bond with someone in a situation like that, you’re usually friends for life,” said Subban of his 2009 World Junior teammate. “We’ll definitely see each other tonight, but probably not as friends until after the game.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOPrice named NHL's second star for November Carey Price earns Molson Cup honour in November Game-used equipment sale on Dec. 4 at the Bell Centre Preliminary results for NHL All-Star Fan voting - After 2 weeks The hockey world says goodbye to Pat Burns