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Oilers open road trip in Montreal

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers open a five-game road trip this evening at the Bell Centre in Montreal. It will be the Oilers' first game in Montreal since a 4-2 win back on November 4, 2003.

The Oilers are struggling to find their game right now, dropping a 3-2 decision to Dallas on a questionable call Friday night. After opening the season 6-2-0, they have lost four of their last five games and now sit in the ninth place in the Western Conference.

This upcoming five-game road swing is crucial for the Oilers to get back on track and also improve on their 1-4 road record.

Montreal is off to a strong start this season with a record of 7-3-3 but Buffalo's record-setting 10-0-0 start has the Habs eight points out of first in the Northeast Division. They're also only two points ahead of 10th in the Eastern Conference despite their good start.

CANADIENS TO WATCH: If the team continues with their goaltending rotation, tonight's game should see David Aebischer start in goal. Both Aebischer and Cristobal Huet have rotated two-on, two-off since the third game of the season. The two netminders have also put up similar numbers: Aebischer 4-1-1 record with a 2.60 GAA and .924 save percentage and Huet 3-2-2, 2.39 and .919... Former Oiler Sergei Samsonov also faces his old team for the first time. He has four goals and seven points in 13 games so far.

OILERS TO WATCH: Montreal native Jean-Francois Jacques will draw into the lineup tonight for the Oilers as he plays only his third game of the season. He will play on a line with Jarret Stoll and Joffrey Lupul... With 10 points in his last 11 games, Stoll is the hottest Oiler right now.

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton - Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out; Montreal - Chris Higgins (ankle) is out, Mathieu Dandenault (thigh) is out, Francis Bouillon (knee) is questionable.

FAST FACTS: After playing in a league-high 26 overtime games last season, the Oilers are one of only three teams (Chicago, Phoenix) to not play an overtime game yet in 2006-07... Jason Smith is playing his 800th career game tonight... Jarret Stoll is on a six-game scoring streak and Petr Sykora is on a four-game scoring streak... The last two times that the Oilers pulled goaltender Dwayne Roloson for the extra attacker late in a game they ended up scoring a goal. They would have had two goals with the extra attacker on Friday if not for Hemsky's disallowed goal.

On December 15, 2005 the Oilers defeated Montreal 5-3 at Rexall Place. The Canadiens had a 3-1 lead before Edmonton stormed back with four unanswered goals to win the game. Pisani had a pair while Torres, Bergeron and Moreau also tallied for the home side.

The Oilers hop a plane immediately following tonight's game and fly to Detroit where they will meet the Red Wings for the second time this season. Game time is 6:00 p.m. MST and it can be seen on TSN.
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