Alex Galchenyuk scored his first goal of the season in the third period to give Montreal a 3-1 lead and the Canadiens held on to score an empty-netter and hand the Edmonton Oilers the 4-1 loss tonight.
"I didn't think we played an excellent game, I thought we played a good game," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "It was probably the most solid game we played so far. Improvement is nice but not good enough yet. It's not good enough if you're going to end up losing the game."
Luke Gazdic continued his physical play for the Oilers when he leveled Josh Georges in the offensive zone, during the first period, causing some anger by the Canadiens. As Montreal's Brandon Prust stalked in on the Oilers tough guy, Gazdic tossed the gloves and the two began a long and energetic tilt that ended in a heavy right hook that sent Prust to the ice.
Gazdic has three fights in four games as an Oiler.
The Oilers struck first on the power play at 2:27 of the second period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins passed the puck from the point to Taylor Hall who from just above the goal line, slid the puck into the crease where a sprawling Ryan Smyth tipped it in for the score. Hall and Nugent-Hopkins each recorded assists on the score.
"We wanted to dictate the pace early," said Smyth. " Obviously we knew they played last night. We tried to carry some momentum and I thought we did that for the most part there but they just stuck to their game plan, played simple and they capitalized on a couple of their chances which cost us the game."
The Canadiens evened things up on the power play at 9:24 of the second when Brendan Ghallagher wristed in a loose puck back door. He was assisted by Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec.
Prust scored the go-ahead goal at 12:05 of the middle frame when a pad save by Devan Dubnyk rebounded the puck to the Montreal forward who was planted at the backdoor post. Prust took one swipe and buried it by Dubnyk. Traves Moen and P.K. Subban were rewarded the assists.
At 12:15 of the third period Galchenyuk scored his first goal of the 2013-14 campaign on a perfect 2-on-1 rush set up by Ghallagher. The goal gave the Canadiens the 3-1 lead.
"It's not easy to look back on a game that you lost and feel good about it," said Dubnyk who finished the night with 23 saves. "I think if I look at just how I felt in the net, then it's something to build off of. I felt good in there but I felt good, like I said, for parts in the other games to. It's not a miracle that I started to feel good and started to see the puck well. It's a disappointing finish to the game, but we all have to build (off of it)."
Eakins pulled Dubnyk with just over four minutes remaining in the game to put pressure on the Canadiens. They held on for over three minutes with an empty net behind them but Max Pacioretty iced the game with an empty-netter.
Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj made 27 saves in the winning effort.