Preview: Oilers at Canadiens
The Edmonton Oilers needed to get away from home to rediscover their game, posting back-to-back victories for the first time Nov. 23-24. The Oilers will look to extend their four-game point streak against an opponent that is seeking to avoid matching a season-worst slide when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Edmonton has scored 19 goals during its 3-0-1 run, including a pair of impressive victories at Boston and Toronto -- Atlantic Division rivals of Montreal. "This is a big road trip for us," forward Alex Chiasson said after Monday's 6-4 victory over the Maple Leafs. "This is where you see good teams in this league take the next leap." The Canadiens appeared to be poised to take that next leap, winning six of eight entering the Christmas break, but they have stalled badly in losing seven in a row, including four straight one-goal setbacks. "It's not a lack of effort," Canadiens coach Claude Julien on Tuesday said after his team fell to 0-3-0 this season against league-worst Detroit. "Still, we're making bad decisions and the level of engagement isn't always there. ... It's unacceptable."
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: Sportsnet West (Edmonton), RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE OILERS (23-17-5): Connor McDavid collected three assists before delivering a jaw-dropping goal in the win against Toronto to boost his league-leading point total to 69 -- two more than teammate Leon Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl, who is riding a four-game point streak. both have scored in back-to-back contests and each had a a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Canadiens on Dec. 21. “When you see them every day and are around them every day, you realize their passion to win," coach Dave Tippett said.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (18-19-7): Julien said bad decisions are "killing us right now," but equally damaging are Montreal's inability to produce offense and win close games. The Canadiens scored nine goals over their past five games and the 4-3 loss in Detroit was their seventh one-goal defeat in the past nine contests. "Again, we didn’t come out with the two points. We got to find a way to dial it in here and close games out and have the confidence to do so," forward Max Domi said. "We just got to go out and execute now.”
1. Canadiens G Carey Price is 3-8-1 with a 3.70 goals-against average versus Edmonton.
2. Draisaitl has six goals and 13 points in 10 games versus Montreal.
3. The Canadiens are 1-for-17 on the power play over the past five games.
PREDICTION: Oilers 4, Canadiens 3