Simply outplayed, Oilers’ hot streak finally comes to an end in Montreal

Jordan Harris had a pair of goals while Jake Allen made 29 saves as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-2, snapping Edmonton's 11 game point streak.

For two of their past three games, the Edmonton Oilers have looked very much like that team nearing the end of a winning streak, collecting points we’re not so sure they always deserved. 

On Super Bowl Sunday they became that team, watching a near-perfect 9-0-2 run become blemished with its first regulation loss in more than a month — since Jan. 9 in Los Angeles — with a 6-2 loss at Montreal. 

The loss caps a 2-1-1 Edmonton road trip on which the team was outplayed in three of four games, the tell-tale sign of a hot streak that is burning to a flicker. 

“To a man,” declared head coach Jay Woodcroft, “all of us weren’t good enough today.” 

Hey, it happens. You don’t get to win every night, even if the Oilers had a chance to temporarily jump into the Pacific Division lead with a win, while the Canadiens are the second-last team in the Eastern Conference. 

Edmonton didn’t have a shot on net until the 9:49 mark of the opening period, and by then the score was already 1-0 Montreal in a game the Habs would never trail. When it was over — and Jordan Harris had the first two-goal game of his NHL career — Connor McDavid’s 15-game points streak had come to an end. 

Now, McDavid only has points in 32 of the Oilers’ 34 road games this season. What a bum… 

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“It was a 12:30 start. We didn’t start at 12:30,” said defenceman Vincent Desharnais, who tried his best to ignite the Oilers when he took on the tough Arber Xhekaj in a second-period scrap. “They were ready. They were in our faces. They blocked shots. We didn’t. 

“They just played better,” he evaluated. “We don’t have any excuses.” 

The biggest difference in this one may have been found between the pipes, where Jake Allen was first-star material for Montreal. He stopped 30 shots — many of them Grade A variety — and helped the Habs penalty kill survive a 1:30 five-on-three while going five-for-six on the day. 

A lesser goalie would have been embroiled in a 6-5, firewagon affair. But Allen simply would not allow the Oilers producers to produce, making a handful of highlight reel saves and limiting Edmonton’s four 60-point players — McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — to just a goal and an assist. 

Together, that foursome went minus-9 on the day, with Nugent-Hopkins posting the only even game. 

“I didn’t love our game the entire game,” said Woodcroft, whose penalty killers had a rare off night. “Our penalty kill has been a real strength here over these last six weeks or so. We just weren’t as detailed as we normally are on it.” 

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In Edmonton’s net, Stuart Skinner has been better, though it would have taken a Herculean night to retrieve any points from this one. In a game that stood at 4-2 for Montreal after 40 minutes, the Canadiens scored on two of their three third-period shots, snuffing any dreams of an Oilers comeback. 

Let’s face it: After games in Philadelphia and Detroit that yielded points despite the Oilers being outplayed for much of the night, that deficit finally caught up with them in Montreal. 

And it’s too bad for Desharnais, the Laval, Que., native who was playing his first NHL game at the Bell Centre in front of a big group of family and friends. He had a nice scrap and was even on the night, but left with a sour taste in his mouth. 

“I have a lot of friends and family here. But I came here for two points.” 

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Klim Kostin, who left Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury after a hard check, did not play. With Kailer Yamamoto set to be activated for Wednesday’s home game against Detroit, the severity of Kostin’s injury could dictate who has to be placed on waivers to create the cap space for Yamamoto. 

Warren Foegele played Sunday and appears healthy. Come Tuesday, the Oilers will have to make a tough decision or two about who goes on the waiver wire. 

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