Montreal Canadiens: Strong Performances and a Dominant First Win

EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 16: Dominik Kahun #21 of the Edmonton Oilers takes a shot against goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Place on January 16, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 16: Dominik Kahun #21 of the Edmonton Oilers takes a shot against goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Place on January 16, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers met for the first time this season on Saturday night. The Canadiens played a strong game in every position and were able to come away with their first win of the regular season at a score of 5-1. Let’s take a look at how it all went down while also focusing on the main takeaways from the Habs’ performance.

Powerplay Creates Momentum for Canadiens

There was little to criticize from the Canadiens style of play in the first period. At the very start of the matchup, the Edmonton Oilers appeared to have an edge over the Montreal Canadiens in terms of speed, often trapping them in the defensive zone. However, it was a penalty taken by the Oilers that shifted the momentum of the game in their favor.

The Montreal Canadiens tallied the lone goal of the first period on a wraparound from defenseman Jeff Petry. Nick Suzuki and Shea Weber received assists on the power-play goal. From then on, the Canadiens outplayed the Oilers on both ends of the ice and nearly doubled their shot count after twenty minutes of play.

Strong Play Continues Well into Second Period

The Montreal Canadiens spent the second period of play solidifying their lead over the Edmonton Oilers, scoring three goals in the process. First was Tomas Tatar who scored on a quick wrist-shot with little to no room left in the top corner. His linemates Philip Danault and Brendan Gallagher received their first points of the season on the goal.

Jeff Petry went on to score his second goal of the game as the Montreal Canadiens created traffic in front of Edmonton Oilers netminder, Mikko Koskinen. Philip Danault recorded his second assist of the night.

To conclude the scoring in the third period, Jake Evans scored an unassisted shorthanded goal, putting the Canadiens up by a score of 4-0.

No Shutout but a Decisive Win Nonetheless

The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers exchanged in the final period of play. Tomas Tatar scored his second of the night on a breakaway goal with Brendan Gallagher receiving his second assist.

While the majority of the post-game summary has been spent focusing on the Montreal Canadiens, this should not be seen as a slight on the Edmonton Oilers who played with intensity throughout the period but were repeatedly being shut down by goaltender Carey Price.

The Oilers nearly matched the Canadiens in shots and were ultimately able to get on the board with a goal by Slater Koekkek who was assisted by Connor McDavid and Tyson Barrie. As a result, Carey Price lost his shutout on what was an otherwise stellar performance from the netminder who finished the night with 35 saves and a save percentage of  .971%.

Takeaways From Saturday Night

Following their overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on opening night, I cited a lack of discipline and a poor outing from the penalty-killing units as the reasons behind the loss. On Saturday, the differences between the penalty-kill was night and day. Taking a total of three penalties on the night, the Canadiens appeared less disjointed and did not allow any goals against while short-handed.

Joel Edmundson had a tough first outing with the Montreal Canadiens against the Maple Leafs. This was not the case as Edmundson, first period turnover taken into consideration, appeared far more comfortable alongside Jeff Petry in his second game. Similar to when Ben Chiarot joined, Edmundson could need some time to fully settle in with his new team.

With such an impressive night, it could be difficult to takeaway any negatives. However, it appears the Montreal Canadiens still have some work to do in the faceoff circle as they finished the night with a 38%. The Canadiens’ best player in this department was Jesperi Kotkaniemi who finished with a 46% (6/13).

Looking Ahead

The Montreal Canadiens could have their hands full as Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers will be looking to bounce back. The second of nine meetings between the two teams will take place at 9:00pm ET on Monday.