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No giving in

Paul Byron came up big for the Canadiens again on Sunday night in Edmonton after overcoming the flu

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensmtl /

EDMONTON - Paul Byron wasn't about to let the after effects of the flu slow him down on Sunday night.

And, when the Canadiens needed a boost down by a goal with six-and-a-half minutes remaining in regulation time at Rogers Place, the 27-year-old forward delivered it in the form of the game-tying marker that really did get the ball rolling for his squad offensively. Up until that point, they simply couldn't find a way to solve Oilers netminder Cam Talbot.

Sixty-nine seconds later, captain Max Pacioretty lit the lamp with what proved to be the game-winner - which also happened to be his seventh game-deciding goal of the 2016-17 campaign - as Claude Julien's troops capped off their four-game road trip with a 4-1 win over the Oilers, collecting six out of a possible eight points away from the friendly confines of the Bell Centre in the last 10 days.

Video: Pacioretty, Byron lead Habs to 4-1 win vs. Oilers

"We just stuck with it. We got some great bounces at the end, but credit to the team for sticking with it," said Byron, who went on to add an empty-netter and now boasts 18 goals on the year - including four in the last five games, two of which were game-winners. "Even though some games we haven't been scoring too many, I think this team has really been battling lately."

For his part, Byron spent Saturday waging his own personal "battle" of sorts against a flu bug that had been working its way through the Canadiens' locker room while they were out of town. Unable to practice with his teammates leading up to the contest, Byron wasn't about to miss the opportunity to help the Canadiens cap off their trip in style - even though he wasn't 100 percent healthy.

"I felt pretty bad [on Saturday], but sometimes it's better off keeping you away from your teammates. I might have been able to practice, but I didn't want to get anyone else sick. I always knew I was going to play no matter what," mentioned Byron, who admitted to losing a few pounds and feeling "a little bit weak," but said his legs still "felt pretty good" overall. "It was just a matter of time [before we scored], going to the net, getting the greasy one, and the puck just popped to me and I was able to put it in."

Video: Paul Byron on his two-goal effort against Edmonton

Following the victory - which has the Canadiens back atop the Atlantic Division, two points clear of the Ottawa Senators - Julien made a point of expanding upon just how impressive Byron's play was in his former hockey home of Alberta over the last two games.

"I thought he had an extraordinary response [to missing practice and coming back to play]. He was really sick on Saturday and he showed a lot of character. He helped us pick up a big win," praised Julien. "He even dropped the gloves in the loss to Calgary. He's getting involved physically and he isn't scared to go to the net. It's really impressive to see from a player his size."

Equally impressive is the fact that Pacioretty now ranks second in the League with 33 goals so far this season after capping the scoring with an empty-netter of his own, too. Carey Price, meanwhile, turned in a sparkling 25-save effort to register his 31st win of the year. It was also his sixth straight victory.

"I liked the way we finished this trip off. We played a good game against Edmonton. What I liked is that we never gave up and we found a way to score some goals at a key time," said Julien, "We're coming home with three out of a possible four wins. It was a tough trip with the flu virus and when you consider everything we had to deal with, we're happy with the way things played out in the end."

Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference in Edmonton

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