The Montreal Canadiens were just 20 minutes from getting back in the win column on their road trip when their normally stellar defense faltered, sending them to their first losing streak of the season.
The Canadiens will get a quick opportunity to bounce back from their stunning defeat and try to avoid a winless trek through Western Canada on Friday night against the scuffling Calgary Flames.
Montreal took command early Thursday against Edmonton, scoring three times in the first 18 minutes, and carried a two-goal lead into the final period. The Canadiens and star goaltender Carey Price then proceeded to give up three goals in a span of 12:43 in a 4-3 loss.
Leon Draisaitl’s second goal of the game with 1:02 remaining provided the winning margin for the Oilers.
"It shouldn’t happen to good teams. We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There’s not much to say other than that. We let our foot off the gas," captain Max Pacioretty said. "We have a game (Friday) where we’ve got to come back and prove this was a fluke and this is not our team."
In the opener to their three-game trip Tuesday, the Canadiens (9-2-0) were denied a chance to tie the best start in NHL history with a 5-1 drubbing to Vancouver. Price, who had a 1.29 goals-against average in his first seven starts, was also in net for that game.
Montreal, a winner in its first five road games, could give Mike Condon his third NHL start in this visit to the Flames (2-7-1). Calgary enters this game having lost three straight (0-2-1) and is 1-6-1 in its last eight.
Sam Bennett’s first NHL goal with 7:28 left in regulation gave the Flames a point Wednesday against Ottawa, but they fell 5-4 in a shootout. Calgary was outscored a combined 8-1 in the first two games on its road trip.
The Flames also lost goaltender Jonas Hiller to a lower-body injury when he collided with Bobby Ryan in the third period, and Karri Ramo was recalled from AHL Stockton on Thursday, one week after he was placed on waivers.
"Injuries unfortunately are a part of our game, at any position," coach Bob Hartley said. "Obviously, it’s been a rough start, but there’s no quit in this organization. We’re going to keep pushing."
The Canadiens split their two games with the Flames last season and won in a shootout in Calgary on Oct. 28 to end a string of seven consecutive defeats there. They lost 6-2 at home Nov. 2.
Josh Jooris scored a pair of goals in that victory for Calgary, but he has zero points in his first eight games this season. Mark Giordano had two goals and one assist in the two meetings, and fellow defenseman T.J. Brodie provided four assists.
Brodie returned from a broken bone in his hand Wednesday.
Lars Eller has five goals and two assists in nine career games against the Flames, but he has two points in his last nine overall contests. Pacioretty has three goals and three assists in his last six matchups.