The Montreal Canadiens bounced back from a tough loss to the Calgary Flames by defeating the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-1.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien shuffled his lines, but found the right mix to get the win. The biggest surprise out of Therrien was him breaking up the Eller-Galchenyuk-Gallagher line, but it balanced out the lineup, and worked as well as he would have imagined.
Therrien mixed and matched a bit throughout the game, but basically used these lines:
The teams played to a scoreless, yet eventful draw in the first period. There was plenty of back and forth action, with the Habs holding a 12-9 shots advantage. The Canadiens were able to kill off a pair of early penalties, and Brandon Prust took part in a spirited scrap with Oiler winger Luke Gazdic. The two fighters threw, and landed several haymakers each before Gazdic got the best of Prust with a finishing punch.
The Oilers took the lead early in the second period with Brandon Gallagher in the box serving a too many men on the ice penalty. Taylor Hall took the puck at the side of the Habs net, and fed a pass in front that bounced off a fallen Ryan Smyth and into the net behind Peter Budaj.
The Canadiens would answer with a pair of goals before the period would come to a close. Brendan Gallagher would tie things up at one, when he tapped home a nice feed from Alex Galchenyuk while Montreal was on the man advantage. Brandon Prust would give the Habs their first lead of the game after some nice work at the blue line by P.K. Subban to keep the play alive. Subban slid a pass to Travis Moen who threw it on net, where Prust gathered the rebound in his skates and then poked home the loose puck.
The Canadiens were able to pull away in the third period, mostly thanks to several great saves by Budaj. The backup would finish the game with 27 saves on 28 shots, and a solid victory in his first start of the season.
Galchenyuk put the Canadiens ahead by two when he converted a cross ice feed from Gallagher on a 2 on 1 rush, beating Dubnyk on the blocker side. Down by two, Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins pulled Dubnyk with more than four minutes remaining in favor of an extra attacker. The Oilers applied plenty of pressure but were unable to pull within one, and Max Pacioretty iced the game, by scoring on the empty net with 18 seconds to play.
Michael Bournival and Nathan Beaulieu drew into the lineup, with Jarred Tinordi and Ryan White taking a seat in the pressbox. The youngsters inserted plenty of speed and intensity, and were just what the Canadiens needed against the high flying Oilers. Bournival made several great plays, and kept the Edmonton defenders on their heels when he was on the ice. Beaulieu used his quickness to jump into the play when he felt safe to do so, but was always back in a defensive position when necessary as well.
The Canadiens are back in action on Saturday night, when they head to the hometown of Carey Price to take on the Vancouver Canucks.