edmonton win IIAnton Lander scored at 1:47 of overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 win over the Canadiens Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The Oilers had to come from behind twice to get the win. They were down 2-0 early in the second period and again 3-2 in the third period before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 24.9 seconds left in regulation time and the Oilers net empty to send it to overtime. Matt Hendricks also scored for Edmonton. For the Canadiens, Christian Thomas and Alex Galchenyuk gave the Canadiens their early 2-0 lead and Max Pacioretty’s 24th goal made it 3-2 for the Canadiens midway through the third period. The Oilers outshot the Canadiens 38-26 including 15-5 in the third period. The three stars were Nugent-Hopkins, Dustin Tokarski and Anton Lander.

Adding It Up –

Go Figure – The Canadiens have now played six games against the two worst teams in the league and have one victory to show for it. And yet, with the single point out of this game, combined with the Tampa Bay loss to Nashville leaves the Canadiens in first place in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand over the Lightning.

Like It Is Michel Therrien post game “We played a bad game in all aspects/. We were lucky to get a point. We played a bad game with and without the puck.”

The Battler – My sympathies to Dustin Tokarski in this one. Not even Carey Price could have saved this one. The Canadiens stunk the joint out. Scoring chances were 29-11 for Edmonton. Shots on goal in the third period were 18-6 in the Oilers favour. Tokarski made six grade-A saves before he the Oilers finally scored.

A Game Snapshot Tomas Plekanec took one of those face-of violation penalties when he put his hand on the puck with 3:13 remaining. The Canadiens managed to kill it off although Tokarski had to make a spectacular save on Keith Aulie. Plekanec came out of the penalty box and somehow managed to screw up an empty net situation. The Oilers came back and scored the tieing goal 45 seconds later.

General Malaise – This is just one game and there will be games like this. David Desharnais had his moments in the first half of the game, then disappeared. Same with Galchenyuk and Gallagher. Even though he had six shots on goals, Pacioretty didn’t seem to have his mind on the game. The Canadiens seem to save the stinkers against the bad teams. Against the top ten teams in the current league standings they are 9-6-1.

Pressing Problem – While a few members of the Canadiens had a bad night, it’s a continuing problem for the so-called third line. Lars Eller seems to have lost all confidence in his game and he’s taken down Jiri Sekac with him, to the point where Therrien moved Sekac up with Desharnais and Pacioretty for a few shifts late in the game. Along with Brandon Prust the line produced zero shots on goal and their puck possession numbers were the worst on a team that was having a bad night.

edmonton win thomasThe Hustlers– The rookies Jacob de la Rose and Christian Thomas plus Michael Bournival are supposed to be the Canadiens fourth line. Compared to the sloppy effort by the rest, they looked like first-liners. Thomas gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead with his first career NHL goal. For the second straight game they were effective in a forechecking role which is a far cry from the offensively passive nature of the fourth line when centred by Manny Malhotra.

Moving On – The Canadiens play Toronto Saturday night, which is always a circus no matter how badly the Leafs are playing ….and they are really playing badly right now with 13 lossed their last 14 games and 0-11-1 their last 12 on the road. The Leafs only win in their last 14 game last weekend against the same Edmonton team that dominated the Canadiens five nights later so get ready.