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PREVIEW: Oilers at Canadiens

In this Boston Pizza Preview, the Oilers play a matinee game against the Habs

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com

Video: THE PANEL | Presented by Sport Chek

The Oilers complete their three-game road trip with a game Sunday afternoon against the Montreal Canadiens before heading into a five-day break. 

You can watch Sunday's game on Sportsnet across Canada starting at 11:00 a.m. MST. The game can also be heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network. 

Read the full game preview and Pre-Game Report below. 

INSIDE THE OILERS

Oilers recall Oesterle and Reinhart, Samuelsson makes his Condors debut and more.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

UPDATE: Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan confirms that both Kris Russell and Matt Benning will miss today's game. That means two of either Jordan Oesterle, Eric Gryba and Griffin Reinhart will play. Cam Talbot starts between the pipes.

MONTREAL, PQ - The Oilers should have no trouble getting up for their showdown with the Candiens Sunday morning. Not only are they eager to halt what is now a three-game losing streak, but playing in Montreal is always special.

"Playing in Montreal, Toronto and some of those Eastern Canadian cities is a reward for players in and around that area, and we'll be ready to play," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

The Canadiens present a big challenge for the Oilers, as they are seventh in the League in goals for per game (2.98) and seventh in goals against (2.48) heading into their game against Washington. Their power play is top notch, third in the League.

On the Oilers side of things, with a day's rest, we expect to see Cam Talbot record his league-high 49th start in net. Talbot has started both games on this road trip so far. Talbot has been the busiest goalie in the NHL this season with the most starts (48), most saves (1304) and most minutes (2857:53).

Connor McDavid scored a highlight-reel goal Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer, has been superb on the road this season with 37 points (12-25-37) in 29 games.

We could see some lineup changes following the three-straight losses, some of which are a necessity due to injuries. Defenceman Matt Benning left Friday night's game following a big hit and bloodied nose, and did not return. There was no update following the game, however, Edmonton recalled defencemen Griffin Reinhart and Jordan Oesterle from the Bakersfield Condors - suggesting multiple bumps and bruises on the blueline.

Reinhart has played 29 games in the American Hockey League this season, registering five goals and six assists. He's really come along lately, recording seven points in his last 11 games.

Oesterle represented the Condors at the 2017 AHL All-Star Weekend. He has 18 points (3-15-18) in 24 games.

The Oilers did not practice Saturday and will not hold a morning skate Sunday before the early game.

-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com

PREVIEW

OILERS (28-18-8) at CANADIENS (30-16-7)

TV: 11:00 a.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet

Head-to-Head:

Sunday's game marks the first of two meetings between the Oilers and Canadiens this season and the lone game in Montreal. The next times these teams will meet is on March 12th in Edmonton.

The last time these teams met was on February 6th, 2016 in Montreal, when the Oilers fell to the Canadiens 5-1. Benoit Pouliot scored the Oilers lone goal in the loss.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers have dropped each of their last three games, coming off a stretch where they had picked up points in eight straight (7-0-1). 

Edmonton lost its last game against Montreal but have had some success against their French-Canadian rivals in the past. In fact, since the 2003 Heritage Classic, the Oilers have picked up at least a point in 13 of 16 meetings with the Habs (10-3-3).

Cam Talbot continues to lead all NHL goaltenders in games played (48), minutes (2,857:33) and saves (1,417). He has a 239 minute lead on his closest competitor Martin Jones (SJ) in minutes played, and a 120 save lead on Fredrik Andersen (TOR).  

Talbot's career highs are 56 games, 3,223 minutes and 1,648 saves.

With 26 wins, he ranks fourth in the NHL, setting a new career-high. His previous career high was 21 wins, which he reached in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Connor McDavid reaches 100 career NHL games in Montreal on Feb. 5. In 99 career NHL games, the Oilers captain has 108 points (34G, 74A).

McDavid scored the Oilers only goal against Carolina on Feb. 3, remaining in first place in NHL scoring, with 60 points (18G, 42A) in 54 games. With his goal in Raleigh, McDavid now has points against 28 of 29 NHL teams, with only Tampa Bay having kept him off the scoresheet to date.

Through 99 games, McDavid has never gone more than three games without a point.

He has a four-point lead on Sidney Crosby (PIT). McDavid has led the league in scoring at some point in all four months of the 2016-17 season. He has led or co-led the NHL in scoring since Nov. 22, 2016.

McDavid has 18 multi-point games this season, ranking first in the NHL, two more than both Sidney Crosby (PIT) and Evgeny Malkin (PIT). He has had three points in a game on seven occasions.

Canadiens team scope:

Montreal is comfortably in top spot in the Atlantic Division with 67 points, seven more than second-place Ottawa. However, the Habs have lost three of their last four games including each of their last two. On Saturday, Montreal dropped a 3-2 decision to Washington. 

Edmonton lost its last game against Montreal but have had some success against their French-Canadian rivals in the past. In fact, since the 2003 Heritage Classic, the Oilers have picked up at least a point in 13 of 16 meetings with the Habs (10-3-3). 

Prior to the 5-1 loss last season, the Oilers had won four straight against Montreal with the Habs' last regulation win against the Oilers at home coming February 15, 2003. 

With 25 goals and 44 points through 53 games, Max Paciorrety leads Montreal in scoring. Alex Radulov, coming back to the NHL from the KHL this past off-season, has been a pleasant surprise with 13 goals and 41 points in 51 games this season. 

Shea Weber, acquired in the off-season from Nashville, is having an outstanding season. He has 31 points in 53 games to rank third on the Habs in scoring. 

Paul Byron, acquired off waivers from Calgary last season, has also been a pleasant surprise. Byron has 29 points in 52 games to rank fourth on the team in points. 

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