Khabibulin helps Oilers escape past Canadiens
Nikolai Khabibulin made 33 saves to help the Edmonton Oilers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday night.
"I'm feeling more comfortable," said Khabibulin, the Russian star who signed with Edmonton after leaving Chicago as a free agent during the offseason.
"I'm feeling a little better. There are still a few things I need to clear up. The last couple of days I'm seeing the puck better."
Oilers coach Pat Quinn praised the goalie.
"He got us the two points tonight," Quinn said. "He was very sharp. He was ready to play right off the bat which was a good thing because we certainly let him get tested right off the bat. For the most part, he was the story for us. He's been better in each one of his games. He was excellent tonight."
Mike Comrie, Jean-Francois Jacques and Patrick O'Sullivan scored to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead midway through the second period.
Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik scored for Montreal.
The Oilers finished 2-1-1 on their season-opening homestand, while the Canadiens dropped to 2-3-0 - completing a five-game trip with three straight loses.
"It's extremely disappointing," Canadiens defenseman Paul Mara said. "I thought we played pretty well. We outshot them 35-19. It's tough to lose these last three games after having a great 2-0 start. Hopefully, we can make that ground back up at home and work on all of the things we need to."
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin was blunt in his assessment.
The Oilers made it 2-0 early in the second period when Jacques tipped Ladislav Smid's shot through Price's legs for just his second point in 64 NHL games.
Edmonton extended the lead 5 minutes later after Ryan Stone stole a puck in the Montreal zone and sent it to O'Sullivan in front. O'Sullivan beat Price with a low shot. Edmonton scored three goals on its first 10 shots.
Gionta scored with 49 seconds left in the second, and Hamrlik completed the scoring with 3:22 to go in the third.
D Steve Staios returned to the Edmonton lineup after missing time because of a concussion. He replaced D Sheldon Souray, who is recovering from a mild concussion. ... The Canadiens played without forward Glen Metropolit (rib injury).