Edmonton at Montreal
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The Montreal Canadiens were arguably the NHL’s best team during the season’s first two months with four regulation losses in 26 contests. Things have slowly fallen apart since and the Canadiens are in complete freefall with nine losses in the last 10 games as they prepare to host the rejuvenated Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Montreal’s only victory in the last 10 contests (1-8-1) was in a shootout against Toronto and the Canadiens are 7-20-2 since Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Carey Price went down with a leg injury. Offense has still been the biggest problem, but Montreal must be sharp on the defensive end against an Edmonton team that has put up 12 goals in two wins since the All-Star break. The return of standout rookie Connor McDavid sparked the Oilers to a 5-1 victory over Columbus and a 7-2 rout at Ottawa this week. “I think we have to limit how high we get here, it’s only two games,” Edmonton right wing Jordan Eberle told reporters. “We have to make sure we temper that, but this is a start.”TV:
2 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Edmonton), RDS and CBC (Montreal)ABOUT THE OILERS (21-26-5):
McDavid has registered one goal and four assists in two games since returning from a broken clavicle and his linemate Eberle scored three times and equaled him with five points in the same span. Taylor Hall has also extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists) and center Leon Draisaitl has goals in three straight and four of five. Despite two big wins, goalie Cam Talbot has been quite busy while stopping 72-of-75 shots and improved to 4-2-1 in his last seven games (13 goals allowed).ABOUT THE CANADIENS (24-24-4):
Montreal gave up a third-period lead at home in a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday for its fourth straight defeat and stands 23rd in the league at 2.71 goals-against per game. Defenseman P.K. Subban has been the only consistent offensive force with six points during a four-game streak and 15 over the past 15 contests (three goals, 12 assists). Captain Max Pacioretty is slumping of late with one point in his past six outings and sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher has one goal in an 11-game span.OVERTIME
1. Edmonton has won the last four meetings overall, including a 4-3 triumph on Oct. 29, and owns four straight wins at Montreal.
2. The Oilers were 5-of-6 on the power play the last two games while Montreal allowed five in the past three contests.
3. Montreal F Alex Galchenyuk posted goals in two of the past three contests after an eight-game drought.PREDICTION:
Oilers 5, Canadiens 2
Stats and Records