The Edmonton Oilers took home their second straight overtime victory as they beat the Montreal Canadiens by a 4-3 score. Dominik Kahun had the game-winner while Leon Draisaitl, Alex Chiasson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the other markers.
It marks the seventh straight road victory for the Oilers and their first series sweep of the Canadiens this season. It might’ve been a largely meaningless game but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some excitement to be had.
You could tell off the hop that both teams were a bit under-motivated in this one. They are both playoff-bound and seeding is no longer in question. The Canadiens had 11 regulars out of the lineup to give their youth some ice-time while Edmonton cut and paste their usual roster.
The youthful Canadiens were much more energetic to get this one started. An eearly breakdown in the defensive zone led to Tyson Barrie making a precision pass to Cole Caufield in the slot who made no mistake to get the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. Mike Smith allows the first shot on goal to get past him.
Alex Chiasson would even things up for the Oilers after fighting off some defenders and getting a shot on net to deflect off of someone and past Primeau. It was as fluky as it could come but a goal is a goal and we had a tie game.
Edmonton would then have a chance on the PP that would be a helluva ride. It started poorly as they allowed Nick Suzuki to rush in on an odd-man chance and beat Smith glove-side to help Montreal regain a 2-1 lead. It then ended on a positive note as Nugent-Hopkins absolutely picked the corner less than a minute later to tie things up less than a minute later.
We’d play out the rest of the period with a whole lot of nothing and head into the second tied 2-2.
A scary moment in the middle frame as Alex Belzile caught Mike Smith in the head while skating through the crease. Smith would go down and look hurt but would eventually get up and continue the game. The next play was stopped after Smith knocked the net off its moorings after losing his balance. It seemed like a concussion but he would remain in the game seemingly no worse for wear.
Edmonton had the period’s first goal on the PP late in the frame. Some chaos in front of Primeau popped the puck out to Leon Draisaitl who fired it into an empty cage. The PP was 2/3 and Edmonton had their first lead of the game at 3-2.
That would be the only goal to talk about and Edmonton would go into the third 20 minutes away from a two-game sweep.
Montreal came out with some determination to get this one tied up again. They spent the majority of the first half of the third grinding away in the Edmonton end. It would eventually pay off as Caufield would feed Suzuki for his second of the game. A picture-perfect passing play and we had a 3-3 game.
The Canadiens had a chance on the power-play late in the game to take the lead but Edmonton turned in a tidy penalty-kill to keep things knotted at 3 apiece. Darnell Nurse nearly iced it in the last minute but he caught iron.
Regulation would solve nothing so for the second straight game these two teams were going to need overtime.
Dave Tippett made an unusual choice as he sent out Leon Draisaitl and Dominik Kahun to start the OT period. It turned out to be the correct one as Draisaitl sent Kahun in on a breakaway and he beat Primeau blocker-side to give Edmonton the win!
It took about 15 seconds but Edmonton completes the two-game sweep of Montreal as they take a 4-3 OT win.
- I’m going to lay it out pretty bluntly: Mike Smith should not have started this game. Not because he has played badly, which he hasn’t, but because the Oilers need him firing on all cylinders in the playoffs. We have seen firsthand what it's like to have a goaltender enter a playoff series in the wrong headspace. That hit he took in the second period could have been disastrous for Edmonton and was a little too close for my liking. This was a meaningless game and the perfect opportunity to see what you had in Alex Stalock.
- Edmonton opted not to rest McDavid or Draisaitl tonight but did bump their ice-time down significantly. I echo the sentiment above about not risking injury to your key players in meaningless games...but I guess I can get behind limited minutes. They were both just fine tonight which, after a few god-like performances by the duo, is more than acceptable.
- You cannot tell me that Tyler Ennis is worse than James Neal and Devin Shore. He had some awesome chemistry with McLeod in the two games we saw with them. Seems like a no-brainer to have him there.
- Tyson Barrie continued to show that he doesn’t belong on the team’s first pair. He has struggled immensely in that role all season long but Tippett refuses to put him anywhere else. He was integral on two Canadien goals tonight. Just swap him with Bear and call it a day.
- I’m not all negative. I actually didn’t hate Kyle Turris. He won’t be in that spot and rightfully so but he had a few nice sequences.
- I also thought Dominik Kahun had yet another solid game on the McDavid line. He has been getting to the right spots and getting multiple chances each game. Looking like the best LW option for the captain not named Leon Draisaitl.
- Special teams remained hot as ever. They went 2/3 with the man advantage and killed off the only penalty they took. It would be very nice if that kept going into the postseason.
- The 3pm start time is strange. Basically an admission by the league that nobody, including them, cares about this game. It blows my mind that they are forcing Calgary and Vancouver to play four more games. They should just cancel Edmonton’s Saturday game and get the playoffs rolling but they won’t.
- The Oilers move to 35-18-2 on the season and will look to get 36 wins on the season as they close out their regular schedule with a Saturday matchup with the Vancouver Canucks!