McDavid found the Oilers effort to clamp down in the third period most encouraging.
“We were not very good for 40 minutes, and we were lucky to find ourselves up by one after two periods,” McDavid said. “But I thought it was really a good job of playing a solid, mature third period and not giving them anything. And when we did, (goalie Stuart Skinner) kind of shut it down.
“I thought it was a real good third.”
“I think that we’re getting more and more confident as the games go on,” Skinner said. “Any (adversity) that gets pushed over our way, we’ve handled it pretty well. The last few games, we’ve definitely had to dial it in and you can see that. I mean, winning four out of five is huge.”
Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said the toughest part of the loss was surrendering a goal with five seconds to play in the second period to go down 4-3 after battling back to tie it.
“We had so much momentum,” he said. “I think the guys thought it was icing. It is tough to give up those goals at the end of the period like that, especially with the kind of push we had to tie it back up in the second half of that period. It was a tough one.”
After a sluggish start, the Canadiens opened the scoring at 16:37 of the first period. Mike Matheson spun around at the point to feed Suzuki at the right faceoff dot, and he sent the puck through on the power play for his 13th of the season.
The Oilers pulled even on a power play as Draisaitl sent a pass through the crease and Nugent-Hopkins scored his 11th of the season 1:25 into the second period. It took 63 games for Nugent-Hopkins to reach the 11-goal mark last season.
Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson was assessed a five-minute major for cross-checking Oilers forward Zach Hyman in the head. The move proved costly as Edmonton scored a pair of power-play goals, both coming on two-man advantages.
Draisaitl picked the top corner 6:27 into the second, his fifth consecutive game with a goal and the 17th of the season.
Then, at 9:36, McDavid banked a shot off of Allen’s pads and through his legs to give Edmonton a 3-1 edge.
“You want to stay more disciplined than we were,” Suzuki said. “You can’t take penalties when you are down and give those guys five-on-threes and so much time and space.”
Montreal made a short-lived comeback.
A broken coverage by the Oilers defense allowed Dadonov to beat Skinner on a rebound with 13:26 gone in the middle period.
Montreal pulled even on a two-man advantage 16:38 into the second as Xhekaj scored on a long shot.
Edmonton scored the period’s sixth goal with just 4.2 seconds remaining as Hyman’s hard work behind the net eventually led to a goal by Nurse.
Edmonton extended its lead 14:40 into the third as Draisaitl picked off a pass and sent McDavid in alone. He beat Allen for his second of the game and 21st of the season.
Out with injuries for Edmonton were Kailer Yamamoto (undisclosed), Evander Kane (wrist surgery), Warren Foegele (undisclosed) and Ryan McLeod (undisclosed). The Canadiens were missing Brendan Gallagher (lower body), Jonathan Drouin (upper body) and Mike Hoffman (lower body). …
Canadiens: At Vancouver on Monday night in the third of a four-game trip.
Oilers: Host Washington on Monday night in the second of a four-game homestand.
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