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RECAP: Canadiens 5, Oilers 1

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

MONTREAL, PQ – The Oilers fell behind early and couldn't catch up, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon on the road. Edmonton's lone goal was scored by Benoit Pouliot, a shorthanded marker in the third period.

6:24 into the game, Eric Gryba received two minutes for an illegal check to the head, giving Montreal the game's first power play. It took the Habs just over a minute to convert and take the lead.

Tomas Plekanec one-timed a blast from the top of the right circle that was tipped past Talbot by Brendan Gallagher to put the Habs on the board first with a power play goal.

“That’s as bad as we’ve been in a long time,” said a disappointed head coach Todd McLellan after the game. “To a man, usually you get five, six, seven guys that give each other a pretty good night. We even lacked that. From the skill players, the workers, the positional players on down it was a pretty flat night. We didn’t skate well, we didn’t pass. When you’re playing a team like Montreal that’s very hungry you have to be prepared to do it right and do it hard all night. We didn’t cut it and got what we deserved.”

Edmonton had a few good scoring chances early on both before and after the Habs first goal but McLellan said that he didn't feel it would have made much of a difference if the team continued to play the way it did during the game. 

“We knew that they had not had the success that they wanted to have here. We wanted to jump on them and maybe if we’d gotten the first goal or the second one maybe it would have been a different case. Even if we did score first, with our legs, execution and our work habits it probably wouldn’t have held up.”

Montreal extended its lead to 2-0 when Lars Eller wired a shot from the slot glove side past Talbot at the 16:11 mark of the period.

Leon Draisaitl took two minutes for tripping late in the first period to give the Habs another chance on the power play but Edmonton was able to kill this one off.

After one period, shots on goal were 13-12 for Montreal.

Early in the second, Zack Kassian received two minutes for roughing as things started to get chippy out on the ice. Devante Smith-Pelly received two for roughing as well, but also two for elbowing. Result was an Oilers power play.

At the end of the penalty, both teams traded chances as play started to open up. Shots on goal now 15-14 Oilers.

Edmonton started to pick up some momentum, but Montreal got it back when it extended its lead to 3-0 with 8:12 to go in the middle frame. Plekanec's shot from the left circle went off the skate of Davidson in front to beat Talbot and make it a three-goal contest.

With two minutes to go in the second, McDavid tried to set up Nurse in the slot off the rush but the defenceman could not get a handle on the puck. Coming back the other way, P.K. Subban wired a blast from the right circle over the shoulder of Talbot to put Montreal up by another.

Shots were 22-20 Montreal at the final buzzer of the period. Montreal started the third on the power play after Kassian took a roughing penalty at the end of the second.

Anders Nilsson started the third in goal for Edmonton and while shorthanded, Pouliot got in behind the Habs defence and roofed it backhand on Scrivens to get Edmonton on the board, down 4-1.

A second before the midway point of the third, Montreal regained their four-goal lead when Tom Gilbert pinched in and redirected a cross-ice pass from the front of the net by Nilsson to make it 5-1

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