The Edmonton Oilers were in Montreal for the first of three make-up games against the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Edmonton came in on the back of a great result in Toronto the night before — a 3-2 OT win despite being on the wrong side of it for most of the night. Montreal came in having not done much of anything over the past week, with the team in limbo after two of them went on the COVID-19 list and everything was cancelled. Mikko Koskinen got the nod for the Oilers after what feels like a long absence, with Carey Price in goal for the hosts pitching on similar rest.
In a bizarre move, Dave Tippett opted to start the fourth line of Jujhar Khaira, Devin Shore and Josh Archibald for the opening faceoff, and it cost them. They gained the Canadiens’ zone but almost immediately coughed it up with all three of them low. The resulting 3-on-2 put Ethan Bear and Kris Russell — and Mikko Koskinen, eventually — in a tough spot, and the hosts were on the board 18 seconds into the game. 0-1.
Edmonton challenged this one for offside but replays appeared to confirm the call on the ice. The refs eventually agreed and gave the Oilers a penalty for the trouble. They managed to escape without conceding again, but it was dicey for most of the two minutes.
Less than a minute after the kill, the Habs struck again. What started relatively innocuously — a puck rang around the end wall and coming to the left point — ended comically with Darnell Nurse taking a casual route back to the front of the net, Tyson Barrie guarding air, and two Canadiens all alone in front of Koskinen to bang away at the rebound. 0-2. Less than four minutes in.
William Lagesson, credit to him, took a fight with Josh Anderson to try and incite something from his colleagues. Instead, he took a swooping right to the back of the helmet and promptly dropped. It didn’t seem to help the Oilers, either, as the Canadiens continued to flex at 5v5 before drawing another penalty.
The Oilers killed it off, and finally showed a bit of life at 5v5 in the aftermath, but couldn’t make a dent in the deficit. Eventually, the Habs found a third goal.
Brendon Gallagher got a piece of Shea Weber’s shot from the right point. He was also first to act on the ensuing rebound — Koskinen barely fought it off — and poked it home before either of Nurse or Barrie could intervene. 0-3.
Montreal actually drew a third PP in the period near the death through Connor McDavid’s frustration:
connor mcdavid woke up and chose violence today pic.twitter.com/sVrwBen64j— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 30, 2021
Don’t be surprised if that costs The Captain a game on top of the two minutes for roughing he ended up serving. The Oilers managed to kill it, but that was a bad look. Apparently, Kotkaniemi got his stick in McDavid’s face just prior, but the broadcast didn’t focus on it.
0-3 after one thanks to maybe the Oilers’ worst period of the year. To be fair to them, this was a game they kind of just found out about and is their third in four nights — with a flight — but, still. That was rough.
Here are the CliffsNotes:
mcdavid appears to score in the second, but it comes back due to an offside pic.twitter.com/mEIxJz3E0N— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 31, 2021
Tomas Tatar scored. A few failed clears, some blown coverage, and a one-timer from pretty close. 0-4.
if the score carries, koskinen is going to get blamed for the loss. and he hasn't had a good night.— Jeff Chapman (@NewWaveOil) March 31, 2021
but ten shots, two periods. there's your writeup.
Oilers have about 8 minutes left in this pitiful game. So far only 13 shots. 8 of which are from Nurse and Russell (4 each) pic.twitter.com/BsJzPok3D8— Romulus' Apotheosis (@RomulusNotNuma) March 31, 2021
The Oilers have 15 shots with just over five minutes remaining.
Like the #Oilers, I will be mailing in the second and third periods (of this recap) tonight— Copper & Blue (@CopperandBlue) March 31, 2021
Look, this one had unscheduled scheduled loss written all over it. It was, after all, their third game in four nights after a week off, and their second in two nights after a couple of big games in Toronto.
But still. That was hard to watch. Don’t understand why Dave Tippett opted to run it back with a club that, other than the result, got its ass kicked last night. Montreal might be an even better 5v5 team than Toronto and guys like Caleb Jones, Joakim Nygard and Evan Bouchard are desperate for minutes.
Curious at best.
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