MONTREAL — Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen had a goal and an assist each as the Montreal Canadiens resumed their schedule with a dominant 4-0 home win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Montreal was playing for the first time since a 5-4 home shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks on March 20. Two days later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia both went on the NHL’s COVID list and as a result the Canadiens had four games postponed -- three with Edmonton and another versus Ottawa.
With its schedule having been revised, Montreal faces playing its remaining 24 games in 42 days. Kotkaniemi was removed from the COVID list Monday and scored Tuesday but Armia remains there.
Tomas Tatar had the other goal for Montreal (15-8-9). Goalie Carey Price stopped 16 shots for the shutout, his first of the season and 49th of his career.
Captain Connor McDavid had a goal disallowed for Edmonton (22-14-1), which was coming off a 3-2 overtime road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night. McDavid had his 11-game point streak (seven goals, 16 assists) snapped but still leads the NHL in scoring with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists).
Veteran forward Michael Frolik made his season debut for Montreal. The 33-year-old winger signed a one-year contract as a free agent during the off-season and had been on the team’s taxi squad.
Montreal was still minus Tyler Toffoli (lower-body injury), who has a team-high 18 goals. Eric Staal, acquired from Buffalo on Friday for 2021 third- and fifth-round picks, didn't play as he must serve a mandatory quarantine first.
Kotkaniemi needed just 18 seconds to open the scoring with his fifth of the season. After Kotkaniemi converted Paul Byron's centring pass, Montreal went on the power play following Edmonton's challenge of the goal being unsuccessful.
After failing to convert on the power play, Montreal went ahead 2-0 on Lehkonen's third of the year at 3:23. It took Edmonton five minutes 14 seconds to register its first shot on goal after the Canadiens had eight at that point.
Montreal came close to making it 3-0 when both Phillip Danault and Tatar both had solid scoring chances in front with just over six minutes to play. But Mikko Koskinen made the timely stop each time.
But Gallagher gave Montreal its three-goal advantage at 15:59, diving to tap in a rebound for his 13th goal as the Canadiens outshot Edmonton 15-7.
McDavid scored what would've been his 22nd goal at 13:55 of the second but it was called off by a successful Montreal offside challenge. The Canadiens countered with Tatar's seventh of the season following a long setup pass from Danault at 17:54.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.
The Canadian Press