Instant Reaction: Edmonton Oilers hang on for 3-2 overtime win over Canadiens

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
29 days ago
A win is a win, as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Montréal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night. With it, they moved to 86 points on the season with the Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, and Vancouver Canucks all in action on the same night.
Sam Carrick made his presence known immediately, as he dropped the mitts with Montréal’s Michael Pezzetta. After a long stare-down, Carrick landed a few big blows, especially towards the end of the fight, to win it pretty clearly cut.
WATCH: Sam Carrick fights Michael Pezzetta
Connor McDavid did Connor McDavid things on the Oilers’ first goal, as Mattias Ekholm made a terrific pinch to turn the puck over in the Canadiens’ zone. The puck landed on McDavid’s stick, did a nice little toe drag to get around one defender, got the Canadiens’ netminder to slide, and just casually tucked it in. For any other player, this could arguably be a top-10 goal of their career. For McDavid, it probably doesn’t even rank in the top 100.
Fast forward to about five minutes left in the second period and the Oilers have sustained zone time for the first time that period. Evan Bouchard makes a terrific pass to Ekholm who should have shot and probably would have scored, but decided to hold it and find Adam Henrique in front of the net for his first goal as an Oiler.
And then we get to the bad, as early in the third period, Nick Suzuki found the back of the net when the puck redirected off his foot. The Oilers lost him after the Canadiens had zone entry and he was picked up too late. Ceci made a nice last ditch attempt to take the stick away, but this was pretty poor defence from the Oilers.
They had some even worse defence on the game tying goal, as two Oilers were still in the offensive zone as the Canadiens were breaking out on the four-on-four. Kaiden Guhle, who was selected two picks after Dylan Holloway in the 2020 draft, had a burst of speed and broke down the left wing, beating Calvin Pickard to tie the game. It’s just another goal where the Oilers looked unaware of what was happening.
Montréal ran into some penalty trouble to end the third, including a double-minor with less than a minute left after an errant stick caught Henrique and drew blood. It took Edmonton nearly the entire four minutes to find the back of the net, but they eventually did so as McDavid had the puck in the slot and passed it to Leon Draisaitl for the one-timer goal. It’s not pretty, but it’s a win.
Things worth mentioning…
Connor McDavid scored a goal and an assist, giving him 26 goals and 108 points on the season. Point leader Nathan MacKinnon scored an assist in Colorado’s game, giving him 117 points on the year. Moreover, Sean Walker scored his sixth goal of the season in that game—not relevant, just projecting.
Mattias Ekholm is this generation’s “Chris Pronger” for the Oilers, change my mind. I was seven when the Oilers went on their cup run, so I don’t remember any of it, especially being from Ottawa. However, the excitement I felt when the Oilers landed Ekholm at the 2023 trade deadline is only matched by the Toronto Raptors trading for Kawhi Leonard, and that worked out pretty well.
Calvin Pickard is the backup. Throughout the season, the Oilers were linked to several goaltenders, including Montréal’s Sam Montembeault. However, Pickard absolutely deserves to be Edmonton’s backup this postseason and should even get more starts down the stretch. His save percentage is hovering around .919 and saved 23 of 25 shots on Tuesday evening. Good stuff.
Up next: The Oilers are now entering a long stretch of a game every other day, with the Buffalo Sabres visiting Rogers Place on Thursday at 7:00 PM MT. Afterwards, they’ll go on a short Canadian road trip, facing off against the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada, before a game against the Ottawa Senators (of course I’ll be there) on Sunday. Afterwards, it’s a game against Winnipeg before returning home.
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