Hapless Habs unravel against Oilers for 8th consecutive loss
Edmonton scores 4 unanswered goals en route to 3rd straight victory
It's a goal Alex Chiasson won't soon forget.
Chiasson scored the third-period winner to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-2 comeback victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, extending their win streak to three games. The Oilers winger grew up in Laval, Que., a short drive from Montreal, and idolized the Canadiens as a boy.
"I've always dreamed of getting one here," said Chiasson of Bell Centre. "I grew up a Habs fan. My mom and dad used to bring my sister and me to games here. It's always special coming into this building."
The Oilers (24-17-5) overcame a 2-0 deficit and put four unanswered past Carey Price, including three in the third period.
Riley Sheahan went top corner on Price to make it 2-1 at 7:16 of the second. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game at 2:16 of the third, on the power play, on a feed from Connor McDavid.
Edmonton took its first lead seven minutes later when Chiasson redirected Oscar Klefbom's shot off the post and in, just out of Price's reach.
"I've had better opportunities to score than this one, but I'll take it," said Chiasson. "I'll remember this one for a long time."
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Price stopped 22-of-25 shots while falling to 3-9-1 lifetime against Edmonton.
Josh Archibald added the empty-netter with 35 seconds on the clock and the Oilers improved to 3-0-1 on their current five-game road trip.
"Play harder and execute harder — when we started doing that, we gave ourselves a chance," said Tippett. "Before that, they were a desperate team, they were a quicker team. They were on loose pucks and executing and we weren't.
"We had to play better if we were going to win. We played better in the third period and gave ourselves a chance."
The Canadiens (18-20-7) have dropped eight straight games for the second time this season. Montreal also lost eight in a row (0-5-3) from Nov. 16 to Dec. 1. The team is now nine points out of a wild-card spot.
"We can't give up," said coach Claude Julien. "We can't hang our heads. We're paid to do a job and we have to keep doing it. We're running out of answers.
"We haven't thrown the towel in as individuals or as a team. We show up every game and compete. A mistake here and there ends up in our net. An opportunity we should have buried doesn't go in. Those are the challenges we have."
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It started well for the Canadiens, who have been good at creating offence on the rush this season and it led to the game's first goal.
Tomas Tatar crossed the Edmonton blue line with speed and dropped the puck to Phillip Danault. The first-line centre fired a shot off Mike Smith's pad before netting the rebound glove side at 12:35 of the first.
Another fast break led to Montreal's second goal. Artturi Lehkonen entered the zone and found an unmarked Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who beat Smith with a quick-release wrist shot at 2:24 of the second.
Brendan Gallagher was back in the lineup for the Canadiens after missing the last four games with a concussion. The right-winger was injured on Dec. 31 when he collided with teammate Ben Chiarot.
Montreal nearly took a 3-1 lead late in the second when Gallagher fought off three Oilers before springing Nate Thompson on a breakaway. Thompson went from his forehand to his backhand and beat Smith but fired the puck off the post.
Smith had 35 saves in his fourth consecutive start between the pipes.
"It's a mental battle right now, it's the psychology of it," said Gallagher. "There's probably a little 'poor me' going through us right now, when really we're in control. It shouldn't matter what's happened in the past. You have to put that behind you and find a way to win a hockey game."