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GAME PREVIEW: Game 3/56 Montréal Canadiens @ Edmonton Oilers

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After splitting their first two, Oilers host the Habs looking to make early headway in the standings

Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (1-1-0 3rd, North) vs

Montreal Canadiens (0-0-1 6th, North)

16 January 2021

Rogers Place

5 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponents: Eyes On The Prize

POINTS

The Oilers played a satisfying game 2 against Vancouver on Thursday night. The Oilers took care of the Canucks by a 5-2 margin, and the usual suspects were all over the scoresheet. Connor McDavid had a hat trick and an assist, Leon Draisaitl put up four assists, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of his own an an assist. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 38 shots to pick up his first win of the season, and most everything looked right in the world. The Oilers will look to keep the good times rolling as they host the Canadiens for a two game series. Can the club continue to fill the net?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We came out with a lot of energy, it seemed like we had a just a little more juice than they did, but that happens in a back-to-back. Our power play was good, our [penalty kill] was good, and 5-on-5 I thought we did a pretty good job as well.

Source

That’s Oilers captain Connor McDavid after his club’s 5-2 win over the Canucks on Thursday night.

Things tend to go well for your club when your captain scores four points. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that McDavid’s got plenty more where that came from.

THE CANADIENS ARE SAYING

“I think we were the better team. We talked about before the game staying out of the box because that’s where they get momentum, and obviously they did tonight...I think 2019watching the game [knows] we were the better team out there, but we’re not going to forget this one. We’ll come out next time and play better”

Source

That’s Canadiens forward Josh Anderson after his club’s 5-4 OT loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Anderson scored a pair in his Canadiens debut, but it was Toronto’s Morgan Rielly who would provide the overtime heroics after Jimmy Vesey tied it 4-4 in the third. Anderson was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Max Domi this past offseason.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • NET ISSUES - Do you like Mikko Koskinen? I hope you like Mikko Koskinen, because it sure looks like you’re going to see plenty of him for at least the next two weeks. Oilers’ number 2 goaltender Mike Smith is out for at least the next ten games with an undiclosed injury. This puts Edmonton in a bind because they lost Anton Forsberg to the waiver wire a few days back. Stuart Skinner (0 NHL games) is the de facto backup, while Dylan Wells (0 NHL games) is the de facto number 3 for the time being. Edmonton has recalled 2018 draft pick Olivier Rodrigue from Austria, but he’s two weeks away from being able to join the club. The club’s hands are tied, as they are limited to clubs within Canada if they wish to pursue a trade. For now, the net is Koskinen’s. May he be there to hold it up.
  • FIREPOWER: If they keep this up, there’s a good chance that the Oilers’ power play can stay near the top of the league. I had to watch this goal four or five times to see if this was a scripted play or if Tyson Barrie wasn’t in on it. More, please.
  • THIRD AND FOURTH: If you’ve watched either of the games, you’ve got to be impressed by Jesse Puljujärvi so far. I think we’re just a few games away from seeing him in an enhanced role 5 on 5. Tyler Ennis was an injury scratch last game, I’d hope we see him on the third line with Kyle Turris and the previously mentioned Puljujärvi. Any combination of Alex Chiasson / Devin Shore / Jujhar Khaira is probably not an optimal trio, might we see Gaetan Haas instead?
  • Plenty of head scratching occurred when the Canadiens dealt Max Domi for Josh Anderson, then promptly signed Anderson to a long term deal. Anderson had a pair of goals for the Canadiens in their 5-4 overtime loss to the Leafs on Wednesday. He’ll likely be on a line with Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin. Both Drouin and Suzuki had a goal in Wednesday’s game, Anderson had a pair. Keep an eye out on this trio.
  • NET GAINS: The Oilers will be rolling with Mikko Koskinen tonight (1-1-0, .907 SV% / 3.55 GAA). The Canadiens will likely start Carey Price (0-0-1, .853 SV% / 4.73 GAA).
  • SCRATCHES: James Neal, Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith are all out for the Oilers. As of this report, the Canadiens do not have anyone on their injury report.