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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers at Canadiens

The Oilers close out their brief two-game weekend back-to-back with a visit with the Canadiens on Sunday.

by Paul Gazzola and Ryan Frankson /

The Oilers close out their brief two-game weekend back-to-back with a visit with the Canadiens on Sunday.

You can watch the game across Canada on Sportsnet or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Connor McDavid 2019.02.03


News and notes from the Oilers return from their bye week.



PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Oilers get right back into game action less than 24 hours after dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Bring on the Montreal Canadiens, who will also be in the same situation as the Oilers, coming into the match on the heels of a back-to-back after facing the New Jersey Devils and falling 3-2.

For the Oilers, who led for most of the game against the Flyers and dictated much of the play, it's an opportunity to put a tough match behind them while staying in the hunt for a playoff spot.

With the extra session loss, the Oilers went up to 50 points on the season, four back of the Vancouver Canucks for the Western Conference's second wildcard position.

"It's a frustrating way to lose a hockey game," said netminder Cam Talbot, who stopped 34 of 39 shots against in the fall to Philly - a game that saw the Oilers go up by two twice, only to have both leads wiped.

"We played so well 5-on-5, just kept giving their power play opportunity and they kept making us pay. Our penalty kill, starting with me tonight, cost us the game."

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock felt the Oilers discipline was lacking but the overall effort of the team was uplifting.

"This one is unfortunate because we played a hell of a hockey game," the coach said. "To come back and to play like this first game after the break is impressive but we're going to have to work on the discipline."


Edmonton went 1-for-5 on the penalty kill and know that area of their game will need improvement against the speedy Habs.

"We did a lot of good things but the penalty kill's got to be better," said defender Darnell Nurse. "Any time you give up four goals, you shoot yourself in the foot pretty good."

Nurse, who logged 29:24 on Saturday while Oscar Klefbom remained sidelined due to his hand injury, took some of the special teams onus on himself.

"As a penalty killer myself, you can't be letting the guys down," he added.

Hitchcock stressed the importance of penalty killing at this time of the season and identified a few specific details that led to his club's misfortune in Philadelphia.

"You win at this time of the year when you kill penalties," he said. "You got to be able to do it if you're going to win hockey games in the last half of the season, and we haven't been able to do it for a little while.

"We took some stick fouls 200 feet from our net reaching in and that hurts. We were playing a hell of a hockey game and we gave them the momentum."


Hitchcock didn't disclose any lineup shufflings to anticipate ahead of Sunday's game but netminder Mikko Koskinen is expected to get the nod in goal.

Klefbom, meanwhile, missed the game against the Flyers due to soreness and isn't expected to draw into the lineup Sunday.

Here are the projected lines for today's game:

Lucic - McDavid - Rattie

Rieder - Draisaitl - Chiasson

Khaira - Nugent-Hopkins - Kassian

Malone - Brodziak - Puljujarvi


Nurse - Russell

Gravel - Larsson

Manning - Benning

-- Paul Gazzola and Ryan Frankson,


OILERS (23-24-4) at CANADIENS (28-18-6)

TV: 12:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet


This is the second of two meetings between the Oilers and Canadiens in 2018-19. Edmonton cruised past Montreal at home in November, handing the Habs a 6-2 loss.

Up front, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid compiled three points each in the match, while Matt Benning and Kris Russell also notched two points apiece from the back end.

Oilers team scope:

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continue to lead the Oilers offensively with 75 and 61 points, respectively. McDavid tallied his 30th goal of the season Saturday versus Philly, marking the third time in his career that he's reached the feat.

In goal, Mikko Koskinen is 14-11-1 this season with a 2.79 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, to go along with three shutouts. Cam Talbot, meanwhile, is 9-13-3 with a 3.34 goals-against average, .893 save percentage and one goose egg. 

The Oilers have lost four straight games, going 0-3-1 over that stretch. The club is 11-11-3 on the road this season.

Canadiens team scope:

Like the Oilers, the Canadiens also lost in overtime on Saturday, falling 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils. The Habs are 28-18-6 this season, led offensively by Max Domi - who has 16 goals and 45 points in 28-19, while being backstopped by Carey Price.

The Habs keeper is 20-13-4 this year with a 2.56 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and three shutouts. Montreal has also been fortunate to get their captain, Shea Weber, back this campaign. The rearguard has seven goals and 16 points in 28 outings after being sidelined much of the past few seasons due to injury.

By the Numbers:

Prior to Saturday night's action, Connor McDavid sat in a tie for second in League scoring with 30 goals, 35 assists and 75 points, alongside Patrick Kane. ... Only Nikita Kucherov has more points than McDavid, possessing 79 before the Bolts lace up against the Rangers on Saturday evening. ... Darnell Nurse is averaging 24:00 per game. ... The Oilers have outscored the Habs 16-5 in their previous three meetings. ... The Habs have seven double-digit goal scorers.

Injury Report:

OILERS - Andrej Sekera (Achilles) is on IR; Oscar Klefbom (hand) is day-to-day.

CANADIENS - Andrew Shaw (neck) is on IR.

-- Paul Gazzola,

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