NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 8th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (25-32-10) at Edmonton Oilers (26-34-6), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With the Oilers likely to miss the playoffs for a sixth straight season, the club will use to rest of the year to get its younger players some experience.
Edmonton tries to continue that seasoning tonight with a fourth straight victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Oilers sit 14th out of 15 teams in the West with 58 points, 16 points out of a playoff spot. They haven't qualified for the postseason since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
Edmonton snapped a three-game slide with a 3-2 shootout win over playoff- hopeful San Jose on Tuesday. Jordan Eberle scored just 10 seconds into the game, veteran Ryan Smyth added a goal and Sam Gagner had the lone tally in the tiebreaker.
"We got the two points and that's all we needed," said Eberle, who scored his 30th goal and 63rd point of the season. He had 18 tallies and 43 points as a rookie last year.
Third-year netminder Devan Dubnyk also had a solid game with 28 saves and another three in the shootout. He had given up three goals on just 19 shots in his last outing on Feb. 29, getting pulled in the second period.
"It's a good experience. I've been part of a lot of games like that," said Dubnyk. "Every time you can get into, towards the end of the year, a real good hockey game where it's a good battle start to finish and you can keep the game tied in the third throughout the end and get a win is a great experience for me to learn from."
The Oilers extended their winning streak over the Canadiens with a 3-1 win at Montreal on Nov. 8. They have also won four straight and eight of their last nine at home versus the Habs, with the lone loss in that span coming on Nov. 22, 2003.
The Canadiens don't seem to be bound for the postseason either as they sit last in the East with 60 points, 12 out of a playoff spot. They have lost two straight and seven of their past eight contests, including Tuesday's 5-4 defeat in Calgary.
Max Pacioretty scored a pair of goals and Carey Price allowed five tallies on 34 shots for the Habs, who dropped the opener of a four-game swing and lost for the fourth straight time on the road.
Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth thought his club played well at times, but was undone by some poor stretches.
"Other than that, the rest of the game was played in a more desperate manner and we got results. When we can play that way, I think we're a threat. It's the lulls in between that really hurt us and I thought we needed to play with a little more jam at those times," said Cunneyworth.
Lars Eller had a goal and an assist and Tomas Plekanec also scored in defeat.
Montreal, 13-17-2 on the road this season, will also visit Vancouver and Buffalo on this swing.
03/08 10:42:45 ET