The Day After (Day of Edition) 54.0: Edmonton Oilers stinker 6-2 loss to Montreal Canadiens snaps 11-game point streak
Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing9 months ago
I was DM’ing with someone who covers the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. They said the Oilers were due to lose a game, and I agreed. I felt they would drop both against the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche next week.
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Little did I think the Oilers would put up a stinker as they did on Super Bowl Sunday losing 6-2 to the Montreal Canadiens.
It was, all around, a putrid performance from the Oilers. You could sense from the opening puck drop they weren’t in this game, and it showed. They were outshot 7-0 before the Habs opened the scoring when journeyman defenceman Alex Belzile found a loose puck in the high slot and fired home his first NHL goal at the age of 31. Great story for him, terrible start for the Oilers and it never got much better, either.
Defenceman Jordan Harris scored his second and third goals of the season for Montreal, while Rafael Harvey-Pinard had his sixth. Josh Anderson and Christian Dvorak would beat Stuart Skinner, too. If you’re asking who the majority of these players are, then you’re asking the right question. The Habs had six regulars out of the lineup and a bunch of guys trying to make a name for themselves in. Good on them for doing so.
In a vacuum that was a rough game. In the bigger picture, all but a minor blip on the radar. The loss marked their first since Jan. 9 and snapped an 11-game point streak that saw them go 9-0-2. They secured 20 standings points and outscored their opposition 52-26. That’s one heckuva run, and much more indicative of where this team is at.
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It’s easy to overreact to tough performances like Sundays. Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard had some glaring mistakes. Stuart Skinner looked shaky, at best. While Connor McDavid was as high-flying as normal, you could see the frustration on his face. I have a hard time sitting here and laying heavy blame against any of these players when all the Oilers’ players struggled mightily.
There was some good to come out of the game. I was impressed with the Evander Kane and Vincent Desharnais dragging their teammates into the fight. Kane had gotten into it with Habs defenceman Arber Xhekaj in front of the Montreal net, and as soon as others joined into the fray, Desharnais and Xhekaj squared off. Both got a few punches in, but Montreal’s defender went down awkwardly at the end of the fight and left the game. He didn’t return.
It’s felt for a while like this was brewing from Desharnais’ game. He’s a big player, no doubt, and has yet to shy away from physicality since he joined the Oilers. I thought he might go with someone from Detroit last week, and he and Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk got into it a bit on Saturday before the latter chose Kane to dance with.
Two minutes after the Desharnais – Xhekaj fight, Draisaitl scored his 30th of the year and two minutes after that, Kane scored on a long wrister. Too little too late, however.
The Oilers have an off day on Monday and will get back to it on Tuesday before what will be a tough few games. Edmonton can’t take Detroit lightly Wednesday in what should be a testy affair, and then they see the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche next Friday and Sunday.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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