Canadians pushed back last Oilers rally to leave Edmonton with victory
Josh Anderson scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens survived a late flurry from Edmonton to defeat the Oilers 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Connor McDavid, with one goal and two assists, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi replied for Edmonton (27-16-2), which had 27 saves from Mike Smith. The Oilers, who beat Montreal 4-1 on Monday and had won eight in a row at home, missed a chance to overtake the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the standings.
The Canadiens were minus No.1 goalie Carey Price (concussion) after being knocked down by Edmonton’s Alex Chiasson in the first period on Monday. The former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, who will be out for at least a week, had just returned to the Montreal roster on Saturday after a six-game absence with a lower-body injury.
WATCH | Pair of Anderson pots of the Habs in the victory:
The Oilers, meanwhile, got a boost with the return of Nugent-Hopkins after the forward missed four games with upper-body disease.
McDavid tied the game 1-1 with his 25th goal of the season when the NHL scoring leader took a stretch pass from Caleb Jones on a Montreal roll before moving on his own and beating Allen upstairs to 3:09 of the second period.
But Anderson, who said after the morning skate it was time for his team to start playing playoff hockey with 13 games to go on his schedule, responded barely 11 seconds later when he turned around. pushed his way past Adam Larsson and broke his 16th short game on Smith.
Montreal, who’s 2-6-0 in their last eight games and had scored just 12 times since losing heart and soul winger Brendan Gallagher on April 5, led Monday’s game. 1-0 with 10 minutes left in regulation time before the game. The home side exploded with four goals – triggered by McDavid’s three points – to turn things around.
There would be no repeat 48 hours later as the Canadiens’ struggling power play finally connected at 8:10 of the third when Toffoli jumped on a Josh Archibald roll that deflected Smith and straight to the sniper from Montreal to bury his 22nd. , running a 3 for 35 run with the man advantage.
Anderson then put things out of reach with 4:47 to go when he reversed his 17th on a streak that came after a coach’s challenge for the goalkeeper interference on Smith.
Oilers comeback fails
Nugent-Hopkins scored his 13th power play with 2:12 left and Smith on the bench for an additional forward, and Puljujarvi scored another late, but Montreal held on.
After scoring just 18 combined goals in a 3-7-0 streak on Wednesday, the Canadiens were the best team in the first and earned their award at the end of the period. Jesperi Kotkaniemi moved to the Edmonton zone and delayed before finding a heavily loaded Lehkonen, who put up a nice setback to beat Smith from close quarters with 28.9 seconds left on the clock to score his fourth and first in 11 games .
The first 20 minutes had a similar feel to Monday’s physical start, the teams combined for 43 hits. Things actually heated up in the warm-ups when Anderson had a brief conversation with Chiasson in the center – the topic was undoubtedly retribution for Price’s injury – before Zack Kassian of Edmonton joined in the conversation.
Chiasson ditched the gloves with Corey Perry once the action started in a short brawl. Kassian then went on to punch Canadiens captain Shea Weber, but appeared to injure his left leg, was assisted in the locker room and did not return.
Puljajarvi, who had a goal and an assist on Monday, tested Allen with a scorching shot moments later, and Kotkaniemi forced a nice save from Smith on the other end on a redirect before the Canadians crossed the end of the period.
The Canadians now head south to Calgary where they will play three crucial games against the Flames. The Oilers no longer dress until Monday – another long hiatus after playing just 11 times in 32 days due to various pandemic-related schedule changes – when they visit the Jets for the first of two in Winnipeg.