Personnel changes on its top two lines was just the spark Edmonton needed to snap a four-game losing streak in impressive fashion as the Oilers notched a 6-2 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The shuffle saw Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reunited on the Oilers’ top line, with Drake Caggiula joining the duo while the slumping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins dropped to the second line. The moves ended up benefiting all parties as Draisaitl, Caggiula and Nugent-Hopkins each scored against the Canadiens, with McDavid contributing three assists.
Draisaitl also had two assists on the night while defensemen Matthew Benning and Kris Russell each added a goal and an assist to the all-around offensive effort. It was the Oilers’ highest-scoring game of the season, and their first six-goal outing since March 22.
Mikko Koskinen had 27 saves in the win for Edmonton. Antti Niemi stopped 37 of 43 shots in defeat.
Benning opened the scoring at 3:13 of the first period thanks to a friendly home-ice bounce. His shot from the point missed the net but sharply deflected off the boards and off Niemi’s skate to roll over the line for Benning’s first goal of the season.
Montreal tied the game at the 5:45 mark on Max Domi’s team-leading 10th goal. All 10 of Domi’s scores have come within his last 13 games.
After McDavid set up Draisaitl’s score at 16:31 of the first period, Andrew Shaw equalized again for Montreal, one-timing a Jonathan Drouin pass from behind the net 1:10 into the second period. With this score and his assist on Domi’s goal, Shaw now has four goals and five total points in his last three games after enduring a nine-game pointless streak.
Four unanswered goals put the game away for Edmonton, with Caggiula’s marker at 3:05 of the second period ending up as the game-winner. After Niemi allowed a rebound to pop into the air, Caggiula was in position to glove the puck down and quickly fire it into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Nugent-Hopkins, Russell and Darnell Nurse each extended the Oilers’ lead with third-period goals, with all three players ending significant goal droughts. Nugent-Hopkins hadn’t scored in his last nine games, Nurse in 13 games and Russell an extended 42-game stretch dating back to last season.
—Field Level Media