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GAME PREVIEW: Game 54/56 Edmonton Oilers @ Montréal Canadiens

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Oilers will play a team that is not Vancouver tonight.

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks
Hey y’all
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (33-18-2, 2nd in North) vs

Montréal Canadiens (24-21-9, 4th in North)

10 May 2021

5 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Eyes On The Prize

KEEPING IT 100

The Oilers took two more points in a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. Connor McDavid needed four points to reach the 100 point mark on the season, and a 1-3-4 night sealed the deal. McDavid tallied the primary assist on Leon Draisaitl’s go-ahead power play goal late in the second period for his 100th point in 53 games. It’s an absolutely wild moment for McDavid, his teammates, and fans of this club. 100 points in 53 games is about 155 points over a full season, which is an incredible number McDavid scoring 31 points in his last eleven games makes me wonder if he was just getting into his groove.

The Oilers are in Montréal for a two game set starting tonight. The Canadiens desperately want to take at least one of these games so that they can stamp their ticket to the playoffs, dashing any hopes of a last-ditch effort by the Flames. Will the Oilers get in their way?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“Honestly, it’s just impressive...I don’t think my English is good enough to find another word for it right now. It’s incredible. We’ve played 50-some games, he’s at 100 points. It’s just very impressive and fun to be a part of.”

Source

That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on McDavid’s 100 point marker.

McDavid has hit the triple digit mark, and it’s ridiculous. Leon Draisaitl is one away from 80 (30-49-79), which would lead the league if McDavid hadn’t gone nuclear.

THE CANADIENS ARE SAYING

“We have to have better starts...Tonight was a step in the right direction in that department, but I think we have to put together a complete game and get a win. That’s when your confidence starts to build. You win a game, string a few together and you start feeling good.”

Source

That’s Canadiens defenceman Jon Merrill after his club’s 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Canadiens have lost three straight games, and they’d love to win any game to stamp their playoff ticket. With two games remaining in the season (both against Edmonton), the Habs just need one - any point between now and the end of the season and they’ll likely face Toronto in the first round. If the Jets continue flailing, the Canadiens could face the Oilers.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • That’s fifteen goals for Jesse Puljujärvi. I could get used to watching this play a couple dozen times a season. I wonder what his numbers will look like with a full season under his belt.
  • If we’ve learned anything about Connor McDavid, not only do we know that he’s the best player in the world, but he’s a fierce competitor. I’m sure the idea of sitting McDavid for a night’s rest has crossed Coach Tippett’s mind, but McDavid probably wants to play 26 minutes. If he’s in the lineup tonight, I’ve got every belief that he turns in another multiple point performance. What’s his ceiling in 56 games? 105 points? 107? More?
  • There’s no greater bet I would have lost this season than Mike Smith. I was frustrated when the team took the gamble on the soon-to-be 39 year old netminder, and he’s been found money after returning from iniury. He’s got 20 wins in 28 decisions, but more impressively he’s put up a .924 save percentage. I’m happy to have been wrong on this one. After Koskinen’s peformance against Vancouver on Thursday, I could see Smith starting two of the club’s last three games of the season.
  • DRY HABS: Montréal has only been able to put up a total of five goals over the last three games. One of those games was a one goal effort against the Ottawa Senators, who have proven to be a viable foe to everyone in the league this year. Except Edmonton, who went 9-0-0 against the Senators this year.
  • Jake Allen is the likely starter for the Canadiens tonight (11-12-4, .908 SV% / 2.63 GAA). Carey Price is recovering from a concussion.
  • HOLD YOUR FIRE: The Oilers are getting plenty of numbers from their top two lines. The bottom two? Not so much. When your top scorers are scoring 4+ a night, you don’t have to worry much about secondary scoring. It would be nice to see a guy like Devin Shore, Jujhar Khaira or anyone from the bottom two lines to pot one.
  • CRUISIN’: Though it’d be lots of fun for the Oilers to win their last three games by a combined score of 17-3, keeping healthy and injury free ought to be a goal tonight. Go score a bunch of goals anyhow.