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GAME RECAP: Montreal 3, Edmonton 1

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Oilers drop second straight to Canadiens in uninspired, inconsistent effort

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we are at game four of the young season. I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but a 1-3 start to a 56 game season seems like a kiss of death. The Oilers are in must win territory already in my books.

Going into the game, the only change to the forward group is Zack Kassian subbing in for Tyler Ennis, and a few shifts to the bottom six.

RNH-McDavid-Kassian
Kahun-Drai-Yamamoto
Nygard-Turris-Puljujarvi
Archibald-Shore-Chiasson

Nurse-Koekkoek
Russell-Barrie
Lagesson-Larsson

Koskinen

As you can see, the defensive grouping for the rematch against Montreal was shaken up greatly, with both Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear finding themselves in the press box as healthy scratches. Jones hadn’t had a great start to the season, but Bear only looked a little shaky in the last game, so I’m shocked that he was healthy scratched so early.

The Canadiens are responding with Jake Allen in net, and Koskinen will be getting the lion’s share of starts until their backup goaltender situation is resolved.

Keys to the game:

  • Goal support from bottom six
  • Defensive composure
  • Timely saves

Let’s see how it goes.

First Period

Kind of a quiet start to the game, though the captain is throwing his body around early. The battle level of the entire team seems much higher than it did on Saturday.

And right at the halfway mark, Romanov scores his first career NHL goal on a shot that NEEDS to be saved by Koskinen. There are one or two saves that Koskinen has missed every game this season which are quickly adding up. 1-0 Montreal.

A question that perhaps a reader can answer for me: Why are the Oilers so horrific at exiting their own zone?

Speaking of which, JP with a great zone exit and as he cut across the blue line, Danault takes an interference penalty for the Oilers first powerplay of the game. And they draw another one towards the end, holding on Armia. But their twenty five seconds of 5 on 3 time yields no results.

Also Kris Russell is getting some powerplay time? Anyways, Chiarot takes ANOTHER penalty as sends the puck clear over the glass. Three powerplays in a row, and only two shots to show for it. Still 1-0 Montreal.

After taking a shot from Anderson, Kassian finally blows someone up. Disappointing period over.

Second Period

The team trade a few chances to start the period, but ultimately the Habs take another penalty, Romanov two for holding. Once again, the passes are lazy, the personnel (Chiasson still?) is confusing and once again no shots and no goals. The Oilers follow that up with a penalty to Larsson for holding, but thankfully the Oil are able to kill that one.

At the midway point of the game, the Oilers have mishandled the puck and missed nearly pass so far. The Oilers have too many “one trick” players. Nygard can forecheck and steal a puck? He can’t make the pass. Chiasson can get open? He can’t finish. Darnell Nurse can skate like the wind? Too bad he and the puck don’t get along.

After a man advantage, the shots are 22-13 for the Habs (16-1 in the second period). Koskinen is making some huge saves (after his softie goal) to keep his boys in it tonight, but boy oh boy it doesn’t even feel like the Oilers have ONE goal in them.

Gallagher takes two for boarding after a very dangerous hit on Darnell Nurse, putting the inept Oilers powerplay back to work. After a few good shots, the powerplay is nullified by a truly inexplicable hooking penalty against Connor McDavid.

The Habs score another, but it is waved off right away as it is deemed that Petry pushes Devin Shore into Mikko Koskinen. Upon official coach’s challenge, the Shea Weber bank shot counts. 2-0 Montreal with 11 seconds to go in the period.

Third Period

A slow start to the period for both teams doesn’t equal much excitement, but the Canadiens take their sixth penalty of the game after Weber levels Draisaitl. The Oilers pick up three shots, but are now 0 for 6 on the PP in the game. 2-0 Montreal.

Larsson takes another penalty, this time for interference, and again is another questionable call. Is contact no longer allowed in hockey? Also a bizarre flurry after the powerplay, where the Habs do put it in the back of not – however, the whistle had gone already. Boo hoo.

With under eight minutes to go, the Habs take their seventh penalty of the game. Which of course, Lekhonen turns it into a shorthanded goal. 3-0 Montreal, goodnight. The Habs give up their own SHG, though it feels too little too late, as Devin Shore picks off a pass in the neutral zone and puts one past Allen off the post and in.

And that’s as close as they’d get. Montreal sweeps this two game set with a 3-1 win.

Questions for Dave:

  • First of all, how dare you (scratch Ethan Bear)? Self explanatory.
  • Why won’t you re-establish the RNH-Drai-Yamamoto line? Oilers are 2-7 since broken.
  • Why is Alex Chiasson on PP1? Can’t finish anything.
  • How is Kris Russell on the powerplay?
  • Is Zack Kassian lost?
  • Please try these lines next game (if they don’t work I’ll stop making suggestions):
    Kahun-McDavid-Puljuljarvi
    RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
    Ennis-Turris-Kassian
    Nygard-Shore (only since he scored)-Archibald
    Nurse-Larsson
    Jones-Bear
    Koekkoek-Barrie
    I don’t care who plays goalie honestly, I won’t be happy