Oilers 4, Canadiens 1
The last-place Edmonton Oilers are beginning to embrace their
role as spoilers.
Ales Hemsky scored twice and Edmonton snapped a third-period tie
with took over the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Thursday night.
Jordan Eberle and Ryan Jones had third-period goals 15 seconds
apart for the Oilers, who have won two straight at home following
seven consecutive losses in Edmonton.
”At the end of the day, that’s what we have right now, playing
the spoiler,” coach Tom Renney said. ”We have to continue to gain
”Especially after the three games that preceded these two that
have been well-chronicled as not being very good at home. We are a
proud organization. We want to represent Edmonton and our fans the
way they would like us to and that means flat-out hard work and
showing up every night.”
Jeff Halpern scored for the Canadiens, who have lost five of
six. The Canadiens also have dropped four straight and eight of
nine in Edmonton, where they haven’t won since Nov. 22, 2003.
Already short of experienced talent on the blue line, Montreal
lost defenseman James Wisniewski 7 minutes into the first when he
was hit in the face with Taylor Hall’s shot.
Wisniewski was taken to a hospital for observation and did not
”Losing James early in the game when we already had a depleted
defense made it difficult,” Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.
”I thought we competed hard, though.
”If it hadn’t have been for a couple of breakdowns in the
third, I thought we had a good game. We created chances but their
goaltending was strong.”
Hall said it was a unique experience to see the crowd split
”It was quite the environment with the fans of both teams
cheering like they were in the building,” he said. ”When we
scored our third goal of the game … well, I haven’t heard the
fans cheer for us like that since our first game of the
Edmonton opened the scoring 8 minutes in when Hemsky fired his
11th goal of the season past goaltender Carey Price.
Price kept it from becoming a two-goal game when he robbed
Eberle with a quick glove save in tight.
The Oilers had another great opportunity in the waning seconds
as the puck was bouncing in front of the Montreal goal before the
Edmonton had 11 first-period shots while Montreal fired eight on
Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, making his second straight start
after snapping a 14-game losing streak Tuesday.
Montreal tied it 1-all at 4:06 of the second as the puck bounced
around in the crease after a hard point shot before Halpern tucked
it under Khabibulin in a mad scramble.
Khabibulin made some big stops to keep the game even after 40
minutes, particularly when he came across to deny Alexandre Picard
in close on the game’s only power play through the first two
Edmonton took a 3-1 lead with Eberle and Jones scoring 15
seconds apart in the third.
Eberle scored 3:58 in, taking Hall’s pass before seemingly
catching Price by surprise with a high shot from in tight.
The Oilers made it a two-goal game off the ensuing faceoff as
Jones took the puck up ice and put it in off Price’s pads.
Hemsky added an empty-net goal with less than a minute left.
Khabibulin finished with 36 saves for his 10th win of the
The Oilers close out a six-game homestand Saturday against
Atlanta. Montreal next plays in the Heritage Classic outdoor game
in Calgary on Sunday.
Notes: Martin tied Bryan Murray for seventh on the career list
for games behind the bench at 1,239. Martin is also 13 wins from
600. … It was the second of two meetings between the teams.
Edmonton won the previous one 4-3 in overtime at Montreal on Dec.
1. … Montreal defenseman Hal Gill missed his fourth straight game
with an upper-body injury while Jaroslav Spacek also sat out with a
lower-body ailment. … Seeking some defensive help, the Canadiens
traded a 2012 fifth-round pick to Anaheim for defenseman Paul Mara,
who played in 42 games with Montreal in 2009-10. … Edmonton
forward Gilbert Brule is reportedly close to returning to the team.
Brule has missed more than a month with a bad ankle and a prolonged
battle with the flu.