Stellar goaltending wasn’t enough for the Habs to come out with a win in the back half of their set of weekend matinees as they dropped a 1-0 decision to the Oilers in a shootout.
Michel Therrien made a pair of lineup changes for this one. David Desharnais was back in after being a healthy scratch against Washington and centred the second line with Alex Galchenyuk and Paul Byron on the wings. Brian Flynn came out of the lineup to make room for Desharnais to return. Al Montoya got the nod between the pipes in a rare home start with Carey Price healthy.
The first period at times was lacking in terms of anything going on. That’s not entirely surprising considering that Montreal doesn’t usually play too many afternoon games while it’s even rarer for the Oilers to play what effectively was a morning game for them given the time zone change.
Edmonton had most of the top chances in the opening frame, particularly led by Connor McDavid who drew the only two penalties of the period while having a couple of point blank chances that Montoya was able to stop. On the other side, the Habs weren’t able to muster up much in the way of consistent zone time and several of their better chances missed the net. There was no scoring in the first with the visitors nearly doubling up Montreal in shots by a count of 15-8.
The second period closely resembled the first. Neither team had a ton of chances although the Oilers had the best one. After Shea Weber wiped out in blooper-reel fashion at the Edmonton blueline, their top line came down on a lengthy 3-on-1. Andrei Markov played it quite well and Montoya was able to make the save. Both teams had power plays in the late stages of the period and while the Habs put on a nice passing clinic in the offensive zone, they were able to generate little in terms of actually getting pucks through to the net. The period came to an end with both teams still looking for a goal; Edmonton outshot Montreal 10-6.
The Habs came out with a lot more jump in the third period but weren’t able to get enough going to beat Cam Talbot. They lost that momentum when Andrew Shaw took his customary ill-timed penalty just past the midway mark but the penalty kill and Montoya were able to get the job done. There were some nervous moments towards the end of regulation but once again, neither team was able to score. Shots on goal were five apiece.
The Oilers controlled most of the overtime period but McDavid was unable to score on a breakaway while Leon Draisaitl flubbed his chance shortly after. Both teams had two shots on goal and weren’t able to score, creating the very rare double shutout for Montoya (who made 32 saves) and Talbot (22 saves).
Draisaitl made up for his miscue in the shootout as he was the only one to score to give the Oilers the win. Alexander Radulov, Paul Byron, and Max Pacioretty were all stopped on Montreal’s side.
HW Habs 3 Stars of the Afternoon
1st Star: Al Montoya – He was fantastic and deserved a much better fate. He sent a message to Michel Therrien that he’s worthy of more playing time than he has been getting lately.
Stats: 0 GA on 32 shots, 1 save on 2 shootout shots, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
2nd Star: Max Pacioretty – I could make a case for all three players on that top line as once again, they were Montreal’s best. Pacioretty had the shooters mentality in a game where too many forwards were looking to make the extra pass instead of firing it.
Stats: 0 points, 0 PIMS, 1 shot (8 attempts), 1 hit, 1 block, 21:29 TOI
3rd Star: Alexei Emelin – Usually Shea Weber is the more stable of the two blueliners but that wasn’t the case in this game. There weren’t any flashy moments, he just was effective. I’ll take that from him any day of the week.
Stats: 0 points, 0 PIMS, 4 shots, 4 hits, 2 takeaways, 1 block, 21:59 TOI
Honourable Mention: Jacob de la Rose – Granted, he missed badly on his top scoring chance but de la Rose was in the right spot at the right time quite a bit. He also fared well with plenty of time on the penalty kill. Games like this will help him push for more of a full-time spot in the lineup.
Stats: 0 points, 0 shots, 2 hits, 1 takeaway, 3 blocks, 1/4 faceoffs, 11:57 TOI