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Under the Scope: Oilers at Canadiens

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Ales Hemsky scored once and added two assists as the Edmonton Oilers completed a spirited comeback to win 4-3 in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens.

Hemsky's unit, complemented by the skill of his pre-season linemates Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner, led the way offensively as the 3-1 third period deficit was erased en route to victory. The trio combined to record six points including the two third period goals to tie the game and set the stage for some overtime magic.

Dustin Penner capitalized on a neutral zone turnover, where he then skated in alone on Carey Price and beat the young goaltender five-hole to win the game in dramatic fashion.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Third period goals from Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky set the stage for something special. In overtime, the fast pace that set the tone throughout the night continued into the extra period. An excellent forecheck from the Oilers caused the Canadiens to the fumble the puck in the neutral zone and provide Dustin Penner with a clear-cut breakaway opportunity. The Oilers' leading goal-getter made a nifty move, sliding the puck five-hole to beat Carey Price and end the game in a thrilling manner.

41 The Oilers won 48% of the draws tonight. Sam Gagner took the most faceoffs (16) and led his team with a 56% efficiency rate.
27 In a game that featured high-flying puck movement and quick transitions, the offensive attack was in full force; so, too, was the defensive play. The teams combined to block 27 shots tonight (17 by Edmonton, 10 by Montreal). 
14 With his assist on Ales Hemsky's third period goal, Magnus Paajarvi recorded his first point in 14 games. Now that he's been reunited with linemates that he had success with the pre-season, his confidence should be boosted.
2 The Oilers are on their first two-game winning streak since the opening two games of the season.

Dustin Penner
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 4

Mathieu Darche
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 E 1

Roman Hamrlik
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 E 4

Carey Price
32 28 4 62:27 .875

Devan Dubnyk
39 36 3 62:28 .923

PK Subban - D

25:08 - 0P, -1 rating

Ryan Whitney - D

26:13 - 0P, +2 rating

The line of Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi had a terrific night. After Hemsky cut the Montreal lead to 3-2 moments prior, the connection between Hemsky and Gagner struck again. A shorthanded two-on-one saw Gagner display great patience as he held on to the puck for as long as possible, driving Carey Price deep in his net, before sniping a goal short-side on the young goaltender. Not only was his goal a great showcase of talent, but it brought the Oilers on even terms and helped procure the two points as the game progressed into overtime.

Ales Hemsky made his return to the lineup tonight after having missed the previous three games with a groin injury. After being reunited with pre-season linemates Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi, the talented winger didn't miss a beat. With a goal and two assists to show for his night, Hemsky returned in fine form as he provided an offensive spark for his new trio. At both ends of the rink, Hemsky was easily the game's most productive and consistently involved players.

Although he skated away without a point on this night, Taylor Hall was flying all evening. Whenever he had the puck on his stick, offensive opportunities were sure to come. In addition, his efforts on the backcheck were outstanding. After orchestrating impressive offensive rushes, Hall was one of the first players back to cover defensively. It was a fine display of his overall skill, as the first overall pick recorded three hits, three blocked shots, and one takeaway in his night of work vs. Montreal.

Neither the Oilers or Canadiens are notoriously physical teams, but they can bring the pressure when needed. In what was somewhat of a surprise, Taylor Hall was one of the most physically involved players on this night. Late in the second period, Hall lined up Canadiens forward Brian Gionta on the half boards. Although he was only able to get a piece of the Montreal captain, Hall connected well and definitely got under the skin of Gionta following his heavy hit.

With the win tonight, the Oilers recorded for their first two-game winning streak since the opening week of the season when Calgary (October 7th) and Florida (October 10th) fell victim.

"Our team delivered as you hoped they would in terms of their effort and making it entertaining -- all those things. The bottom line is that we really gutted it out here."

-  Head Coach Tom Renney on the victory

Thursday, December 2 vs. Toronto
  5:00 p.m. MT (SNET-EDM / 630 CHED)

The Oilers are currently enjoying a two-game winning streak on this eastern Canadian swing. The final stop comes Thursday in Toronto when Edmonton looks to go a perfect three-for-three on the road trip.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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