Eight games into the season, the Montreal Canadiens are already in position to match their longest winning streak of 2013-14.
That’s something the Edmonton Oilers have already accomplished, and both teams will look to continue their runs Monday night in Edmonton.
While the Canadiens (7-1-0) are trying to take their act on the road after sweeping four at home, the Oilers (3-4-1) are out to continue their success in the fifth of a seven-game homestand.
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The Oilers’ three straight wins have all come against Eastern Conference opponents, giving them a 3-0-0 record when crossing over compared to going 0-4-1 against the West. Such a trend wouldn’t bode well for the season, though it certainly could against the Canadiens, whom Edmonton is 12-4-3 against since Dec. 30, 2000. The clubs split last season’s series with the road team winning each.
East-leading Montreal, which won five in a row twice last season, closed out its perfect home stretch with Saturday’s 3-1 win over the New York Rangers with goals from Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty.
Plekanec has five goals and four assists in eight games after managing 43 points in 81 contests last season. Pacioretty has two goals and four assists on the winning streak.
"We’re a confident hockey club, we enjoy putting the work in, and we stick up for each other," goaltender Carey Price said.
The club’s confidence might be at its highest in regard to Price, who has been in goal for the whole winning streak. In the last three games, he’s posted a 1.33 goals-against average and .959 save percentage after allowing at least three goals in each of his first four starts.
"He’s playing unbelievably," said Pacioretty, who has four goals in his last three games against Edmonton. "When you see him lead the way like that, it obviously gives us confidence and gives us motivation. It seems like we’ve been talking about the same thing for at least two years."
It’s been quite the opposite against the Oilers for Price with a 1-5-1 record, 3.71 GAA and .857 save percentage in seven starts. All three in Edmonton have ended in regulation losses with 13 goals allowed.
The Oilers have nearly matched that in their last three with 12 goals after Friday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. Jordan Eberle had two and an assist, and rookie Leon Draisaitl scored his first NHL goal as part of the team’s four-goal third period.
"We found a way to win in the third, and that’s the most important thing," Eberle said. "We got the win, we got the two points. That’s something we weren’t doing last year. We have a little bit of a streak going here."
Eberle hadn’t scored in his first six games.
"It’s definitely nice to get the monkey off my back," he said. "It seems like it’s the same every year, you get one and I feel good, and I start playing my game again. It’s funny how it works, you get one and the net turns into a soccer net."
A fourth straight win would be the Oilers’ longest since stringing five together from March 26-April 3, 2013.
Edmonton goaltender Viktor Fasth (groin) is on injured reserve, so Ben Scrivens could get a sixth straight start. After a slow start to the season, Scrivens has posted a 2.02 GAA and .932 save percentage in the last four games.
Backup Richard Bachman is yet to make his season debut after being recalled on Oct. 15 to replace Fasth.