The Oilers stunned the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 at Rexall Place on
Monday, taking a 2-0 lead into the third period and then sealing it
with an empty-net goal to post their fourth consecutive win.
"That was a very good team that we played tonight, and we were able
to play with them," said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins, whose club is
4-4-1 after consecutive victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning,
Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and now Montreal. "We had
some excellent goaltending, we were able to kill penalties when we
needed to, we were able to score when we needed to."
While the Oilers were rolling, the Canadiens (now 7-2-0) were off to
their best start in 53 years. Both sides were feeling pretty good
about their game when the puck dropped, but Edmonton was the only
team feeling that way three periods later.
"I don't think we played the right way from the start," said
Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. "We are a good team and we are
going to generate opportunities, but I don't think we were playing
our hockey game out there.
"We have to play our system, and it seemed like some guys were on
their own page. We have played a lot of good hockey of late, and
this is not time to panic, but I don't think we played the way that
has gotten us so much success early in the season."
The Oilers led 1-0 after center Mark Arcobello sent right winger
Benoit Pouliot in alone for his first goal as an Oiler with 19
seconds left in the first period.
Edmonton doubled the lead 6:33 into the second period when right
winger Nail Yakupov, left alone at goaltender Dustin Tokarski's back
door, tapped in his second of the season.
The Canadiens pressed hard for the comeback in the third period, but
Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens shut the door for his first shutout of
the season. He stopped all 29 shots he faced.
Left winger Taylor Hall secured the victory when he slid a puck into
the empty net with 2:18 to play.
"We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone," Canadiens coach
Michel Therrien said. "We were just having a hard time generating
offense. The Oilers blocked a lot of shots tonight, you have to give
them credit. Their goalie made some key saves, too.
"It's a fine line between winning and losing. We had some terrible
turnovers at the end of the first period, and they capitalized on
The Oilers took down some big opponents during the streak, so they
are feeling as good about their game as they have in years -- which
isn't saying much given that they haven't finished higher than 24th
in five years.
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"They're on the top in the East, those teams, and for us to win
those games shows a lot of character from our guys," Pouliot said.
"We're doing the job right now.
"Our start wasn't the best, but it's a long season, we're only nine
Things are going well for the Oilers, but they are making a point
not to get too far ahead of themselves.
"It was a big test, but you don't finish a test and all of a sudden
you know everything," Scrivens said. "It's taught us a lot about
ourselves as a group, how we can play, but the test of a good team
is repeatability and consistency.
"That's where we've set the bar. We've now shown everybody how we
can play. We now have a standard that we have to live up to. We have
to hold ourselves accountable to it going forward."
NOTES: The Canadiens started G Dustin Tokarski, in large part due to
the fact that G Carey Price is 1-5-1 against Montreal. Tokarski
finished with 16 saves. ... Edmonton D Nikita Nikitin missed
Monday's game to deal with what with the team is calling
"maintenance" issues. ... The Oilers didn't earn their fourth win of
the 2013-14 season until their 20th game. ... Oilers G Ben Scrivens
was selected the NHL's Second Star of the week on the strength of
wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Carolina
Hurricanes. ... Monday was the ninth game of rookie C Leon
Draisaitl's NHL audition. If he plays Game 10 on Wednesday against
the Nashville Predators, this season would count as the first year
of his three-year, entry-level contract. ... The Canadiens were
playing the first of back-to-back games. They visit the Calgary
Flames on Tuesday. ... Montreal RW P.A. Parenteau played his 300th
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