The Edmonton Oilers taught Montreal forward Lars Eller a tough lesson.
Eller said the Oilers were a ”junior team” that was ”all over the place” before Edmonton’s 4-3 victory over the Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Oilers coach Dallas Eakins took offense to Eller’s comments and used it to motivate his youthful team.
”When you’ve got some young player who’s trying to get his feet wet calling an organization a junior team, people take notice,” Eakins said. ”I knew it was going to turn. It makes for great banter in our dressing room.
”That is a total hockey god thing. I’m sure that young man has learnt his lesson, and I highly doubt you’ll see anything like that out of his mouth again.”
Eller, Montreal’s leading goal-scorer, had only one shot on net and didn’t earn any points in the loss.
”He’s a young player,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said of Eller. ”I think he’ll learn from that. He made inappropriate comments.”
Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid both scored in the second period for Edmonton to tie the game 2-2. Jeff Petry and Ryan Jones then had back-to-back goals in the third to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead.
Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher scored in the first period to give Montreal the lead and Brian Gionta scored with 3 seconds left.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was at the center of Edmonton’s turnaround with two assists.
”I got a huge momentum boost from (Eakins’) talk between periods,” Nugent-Hopkins said. ”That was big for us. I thought we responded well.
”It’s what we needed at that point. We were losing battles, we weren’t playing with the passion that we need to win games in that situation.”
With the win, the Oilers ended a six-game road trip on a high. They went 2-3-1 in that stretch, and sit in last place in the Pacific Division.
Plekanec put the Canadiens on the board first when he scored a power-play goal at 16:36 of the first period. Gallagher increased Montreal’s lead less than two minutes later with a quick wrist shot.
Edmonton answered with two goals of its own in quick succession. Hemsky scored the first at 12:50 of the second period, getting around Alex Galchenyuk with ease and beating Price above the shoulder.
Smid then tied the game 2-2 with his first of the year, when he put the rebound of Nugent-Hopkins’ shot into a gaping net at 15:37.
Petry put the Oilers ahead for good at 7:59 of the third. Nugent-Hopkins pretended to shoot on a 2-on-1, but instead sent the puck to Petry who scored from close range.
Jones made it 4-2 at 9:57.
”We can’t expect to play one period and win,” Gionta said. ”We had a great start, we did what we wanted to, we stuck to our game plan for the first period, and we didn’t adjust after that.
”We have to do a better job of finding a way to play 60 minutes.”
The injury-plagued Canadiens were without forwards Max Pacioretty, Brandon Prust and Daniel Briere.
The Oilers were missing star forward Taylor Hall and veteran Ryan Smyth. Hall, who injured his knee on Saturday in the Oilers’ win over Ottawa, is expected to be out four weeks. Jones replaced him in the lineup.
The Oilers lost 4-1 to the Canadiens on Oct. 11 in their last home game before the two-week road trip.