The Oilers finished their Montreal road trip on a high note, but only by a narrow margin for the second straight game. It was another back and forth affair, but the pace only really picked up with a little over 10 minutes left in the third period, when the game was tied for the third time of the afternoon. Mike Smith was back between the pipes for Edmonton and Cayden Primeau got the start for Montreal.
Montreal would strike first once again, but the big names would show up on the scoresheet for them tonight. Tyson Barrie had a takeaway behind his own net and looked to make a breakout pass, and it landed right in the bread basket of Cole Caufield who would make no mistake and bury it from the top of the circle in true goal scorer fashion. 1-0 Habs.
The Oilers would have the answer soon after, but it would not be the last time a lead vanished in this game. Alex Chiasson would be credited with the tying goal after it took a few whacky deflections on the way past Cayden Primeau. James Neal and Dmitry Kulikov picked up the assists. 1-1 ball game.
Primeau made a big save on Jesse Puljujarvi to get the whistle on a delayed penalty that saw Ben Chiarot go to the box for a high stick. Edmonton got the first power play of the game, and it was an eventful two minutes.
The Habs’ killers came out flying and Nick Suzuki came down the wing into Edmonton’s zone, decided to shoot it at the glove of Mike Smith and he was rewarded with a short handed goal. Smith got a big chunk of it and probably should’ve gotten it all but it wasn’t meant to be. Suzuki’s 14th of the season would be a new career high. 2-1 Montreal.
On the same power play, The Oilers would even up the score again as James Neal would raise some hell in front of Primeau, allowing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to sneak one by him from the top of the circle. Tyson Barrie and Connor McDavid picked up the apples, as McDavid’s point streak would rage on. 2-2, tied game.
The period ticked away as neither team was able to settle the game quite yet. An uneventful last 5 minutes brought the teams back into the locker room for the first intermission tied at two. Much the like the first, the second period would come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.
Just under two minutes into the second, Suzuki would head to the box for a cross check and put Edmonton right back on the power play. It would start much like the last one, with Montreal applying the pressure in the offensive end during their penalty kill. Mike Smith took a knee to the head from a Montreal player that was pushed into him, and the Oilers bench held its collective breath as Smith was visibly staggered and took some time to recover. Ultimately, he was able to press on and a crisis was averted. The Canadiens were able to kill off the penalty.
Suzuki went back to the box shortly after, this time for a hook. Edmonton put the top PP unit back on the ice and this time, they looked like they had finally gotten warmed up. McDavid would enter the zone on the rush, and patiently waited for Primeau to make the first move, then he dished it to Leon Draisaitl who simply had to shoot it into an empty net to give Edmonton their first lead of the contest. 3-2 Oilers.
With these teams both being locked into their respective seeds for the playoffs, neither team looked particularly engaged for an entire period, and this second period ended after a mid game lull that didn’t see much happen in the final ten minutes of the frame.
The game slowly picked up pace through the first ten minutes of the third, culminating in yet another game tying goal. Caufield wheeled the puck into the offensive zone on a 2 on 1 with Suzuki, and this time he made a beautiful pass right to the tape of Suzuki who had his stick down in the crease for an easy tap in. 3-3, tied once again.
Edmonton would hit a post and miss a chance to put the game away as time ticked away in the third, and then they’d go to the penalty kill for the first time in the game. Archibald would sit for a hook with three and a half minutes to go, and the Oilers would kill it off. This one would go into overtime for the second game in a row.
OT would be brief, and despite McDavid and Draisaitl being separated in the 3 on 3, Edmonton would come out on top once again and continue to be one of the best teams in the league with the extra ice. McDavid would take the first shift, change for Draisaitl who came out with Dominik Kahun, and Kahun would get a pass from his fellow countryman that sprung him into the Montreal end all alone, and he’d bury the game winner on the breakaway. It all happened before Montreal could react, and they looked like they wished they had put the game away before it went into extra time. 4-3 final, Edmonton wins again.
Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki were the only Habs that recorded points in the game, each of them picking up a goal and an assist. Draisaitl and Chiasson also had a goal and an assist each, and McDavid and Barrie each had two assists. Dominik Kahun scored in overtime for the first time in his career, and he got to share the moment with his good buddy Leon. Mike Smith had 26 saves on 29 shots, and Cayden Primeau had 18 on 22 in another disappointing outing for the young goaltender.
The Oilers will wrap up the regular season in Edmonton on Saturday against the Canucks. Then they’ll turn their full focus to the Winnipeg Jets, who await them in round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I’ll have a short series preview up on Monday, once I get home from the NASCAR races in Dover this weekend. Until then, I’ll be tailgating and getting rowdy, and I hope you all have a great weekend too. I’ll do another box score recap (like my last blog) on Saturday, so I’ll check back in with you all from the hotel after the game.