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Draisaitl scores twice, Oilers rally past Canadiens

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- After being called up from the American Hockey League earlier Thursday, Leon Draisaitl scored two goals to help the Edmonton Oilers battle back from a three-goal deficit and defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 at Rexall Place.

Draisaitl started the rally with a goal late in the second period, then scored the game-winner off a pass from center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with 1:02 left in the third period to complete the comeback.

"My flight landed at 2:30 p.m., I went to the hotel, ate quickly and came to the rink," Draisaitl said. "For me, personally, it feels good, but this game was really important for the team as well. Not folding our hands and coming back from down 3-0, that shows the character in the room."

Brandon Davidson and Benoit Pouliot also scored in the third period for Edmonton (4-8-0), which ended a three-game losing streak.

Oilers center Connor McDavid had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games. His 12 points lead rookies.

Forward Nail Yakupov, who had an assist on the Pouliot goal, also has a seven-game point streak.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 23 saves. He is 1-6-1 against Edmonton in his career, including 0-4-0 at Rexall Place. Montreal (9-2-0) has lost two straight after winning its first nine games of the season.

Draisaitl, 20, was called up because Edmonton forwards Jordan Eberle, Rob Klinkhammer, Matt Hendricks and Lauri Korpikoski each is sidelined by an injury.

"I know Leon had a long day today, he was up really early, he was flying for the most part," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I thought he did a really good job stepping right in. There's no sit-back from him, which is really good to see out of him."

Draisaitl, the No. 3 selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, had a goal and an assist in six games with Bakersfield, the Oilers' AHL affiliate, before being recalled.

"That was unbelievable. We are all really happy for him," McDavid said. "That was pretty special. This feels really good. Obviously, [the Canadiens] are the NHL's best team over there. It feels pretty special to come back like that against them."

Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell and Alex Galchenyuk scored in the first period to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead.

Gallagher scored at 9:27 on the power play, tipping a P.K. Subban point shot past Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who made 18 saves.

Mitchell put Montreal up 2-0 at 16:56, stripping Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom of the puck at the Oilers blue line and snapping a shot past Talbot.

Galchenyuk gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead with 2:09 left, tapping in a cross-crease pass from defenseman Andrei Markov.

"We were on our toes in the first, and then we were on our heels after that," Mitchell said. "It seemed like we took our foot off the pedal, and then we were chasing it. That's the best description for it. At the start of the second period, they were just faster than us and more aggressive than us, and we couldn't get it back."

Draisaitl scored with 52 seconds left in the second period to cut the lead to 3-1, taking a rebound off the end boards and managing to get the puck past Price.

Draisaitl knocked the puck back toward the net, where it hit Price and crossed the line in midair before Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin could knock it away. The goal was confirmed after video review.

"We had a really strong start, we were playing the right way and we started the second period wrong," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "We tried to be fancy, and it was really frustrating to see our team play that way, and we got what we deserved. I didn't like our attitude starting the second period; it's simple."

Davidson pulled the Oilers to within a goal with his first of the season. The play started with McDavid winning a battle in the corner for the puck and sending it back to Darnell Nurse at the point. Nurse slid the puck over to Davidson, who stepped into a shot from the blue line and beat Price.

Pouliot tied the game at 10:43 on a breakaway, snapping a shot past Price. McDavid created the opportunity by winning a battle for the puck along the boards against Subban, then tipping it past Markov to Pouliot.

"McDavid is a dynamic player. There is no question he's going to be an excellent addition to this league," Price said. "He's exciting to watch, his talent is really outstanding. I'm really happy for the Oilers fans. They're going to be able to watch that for the next 15 to 20 years."

Draisaitl scored the game-winner after Nugent-Hopkins won a race against David Desharnais for the puck behind the net and sent it out in front.

"Every time you have an open net like that, it feels really good," Draisaitl said. "That play was all [Nugent-Hopkins]. He forechecked and stripped the puck and made an unbelievable pass. Huge credit to him."

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