Two goals in the span of 69 seconds by the Montreal Canadiens was the difference Sunday at Rogers Place
EDMONTON, AB - Four third period goals - two in the span of 69 seconds, then two empty-netters - for the Montreal Canadiens proved to be the difference in a 4-1 loss for the Oilers on Sunday at Rogers Place.
"They disrupted a lot of our exits out of the zone, got sticks on pucks, batting things down, disrupted the flow of the game," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
"Unfortunately for us, we couldn't stick with it long enough to get the win. Cam had made so many good saves that it's too bad that type of goal (Pacioretty's) went in on him."
Cam Talbot made 37 saves, Milan Lucic scored and the Oilers won 67 percent of their faceoffs, staying up 1-0 for most of the night but the Canadiens turned their offence on with six minutes left.
"The effort, the want, the desire was there tonight, I didn't think there was anything lazy or negligent about our game, we just didn't execute really well," said McLellan.
Darnell Nurse and Michael McCarron got the boisterous Rogers Place crowd to its feet at 5:15 of the opening period, dropping the mitts in the hopes it would inspire their respective clubs.
It seemed to work for Connor McDavid, who had the Oilers best scoring chance in the first period. Grabbing the puck in the neutral zone, McDavid skated past defenceman Andrei Markov, firing a backhander that just missed short-side.
Zack Kassian had the next most dangerous opportunity. Driving wide, he dangled the puck between his legs to create space, then pushed it to the net. It nearly redirected off Benoit Pouliot's skate and in, but Carey Price made a goal-line stand.
At the end of the first period, the game was scoreless, with the Canadiens leading the shot department 14-6.
A strong play by hulking winger Milan Lucic at 4:17 of the second period got the ball rolling for the Oilers. After outmuscling Alexei Emelin for the puck in the neutral zone, Lucic encroached on a 2-on-1 but elected to whip a wrist shot five-hole on Price. It was his 15th marker of the year and 38th point.
Although they led by one midway through the second period, the Oilers were outshot 21-12. Talbot, who seems to flourish when he sees more pucks his way, kept Edmonton in the lead.
At the 10-minute mark of the period, Emelin got his stick up on Matt Hendricks. Hendricks drew blood, prompting a double-minor for the Habs defenceman.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins almost made it 2-0 on a partial breakaway off a deft pass from Pouliot but Price shut the door and Montreal killed the penalty.
The Oilers took their slight one-goal lead into the third period in the tight-checking affair.
Edmonton continued to temper the Canadiens push in the final period.
Patrick Maroon nearly got the insurance marker. A feathered pass from Leon Draisaitl found its way to the Big Rig, who deflected it with his backhand but was absolutely robbed by Price.
"He's a world-class goaltender," said Jordan Eberle about Price. "You see the save he made on Patty Maroon on the rush to give us a 2-0 lead. He kept them in it and they were able to capitalize and get a bounce."
Paul Byron scored his 17th of the season at 13:33 of the third to tie the match. From the side of the net, Byron had open space in front of Talbot, taking it and firing a shot far side.
Sixty-nine seconds later, a seemingly harmless Max Pacioretty floater caught a piece of Oscar Klefbom's stick to elude Talbot. The Canadiens, for the first time all game, took the lead 2-1.
"It's tough," said Lucic. "I think we had some chances in the third there to extend the lead, four-minute power play to extend the lead, good goaltender (Price) makes some big saves for them. Our goaltender (Talbot) made us some huge saves, too, to keep us in it... That's how it goes sometimes."
Byron and Pacioretty would later add empty-net goals to seal the deal for the Canadiens, 4-1.
The Oilers will look to bounce back against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.