Now that their season-opening winning streak has ended, the Montreal Canadiens are determined to successfully move on from that initial defeat.
It will require handing the Edmonton Oilers a fourth consecutive defeat at Rexall Place on Thursday night.
Publicly, Montreal (9-1-0) did its best to downplay a sizzling start that flirted with NHL history, but after failing to match the league record for consecutive wins to open a season in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Vancouver, some Canadiens players had little trouble expressing their true feelings.
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"Other people talked about (the streak), we didn’t," said captain Max Pacioretty, who was held without a point for the third time this season. "We’ve gotten off to a great start this year … but we’re not happy.
"You’re only as good as your last game and we weren’t very good."
For the first time this season, the Canadiens allowed a first-period goal, coming 2:30 into the game. Two more followed in the period against Carey Price, whose five goals yielded on 28 shots Tuesday were four fewer than he allowed in his first seven starts.
Montreal had not scored fewer than three goals in any of its previous contests and its 26 shots matched a season low.
"I think this is maybe what we needed," winger Brendan Gallagher told the team’s official website. "Maybe we have to understand that it’s still going to take work, it’s still a process and you have to stick with it.
"We need to get better. We took a step back, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll have any trouble re-focusing and getting ready for the next one."
Montreal continues its three-game trip through western Canada looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat to Edmonton (3-7-0) and poised to learn from its first setback.
"When you lose like that, you have to look at yourself in the mirror," said Gallagher, who was held without a point after totaling four goals and two assists in the previous four games. "We can’t be happy with our effort. The good news is that (on Thursday) we have to bounce back."
Edmonton can’t be pleased after allowing 14 goals in the last three contests. The Oilers held a one-goal lead in the third period before Minnesota scored twice in less than a minute for their second consecutive one-goal defeat, 4-3 on Tuesday.
"You’re winning in the third period on the road, those have to translate into wins" said forward Taylor Hall, who had a goal with an assist. "We’re there, but there’s still a lot of things in our game that we need to fix."
The Oilers killed 23 of 25 penalties in their first seven games but have allowed the last three opponents to go 4 for 8 with the man advantage.
Cam Talbot has given up seven goals in the last two games. The former New York Rangers backup is 1-0-1 with an 0.49 goals-against average and a shutout as a starter against the Canadiens, but last faced them in that capacity in April 2014.
Price hasn’t faced Edmonton since October 2013, but has a 3.21 GAA during a five-game losing streak.
Hall has two goals and two assists in the last three games.