Bouchard scores in OT as Oilers beat Canadiens for 10th straight win
MONTREAL — An Evan Bouchard power-play blast from the point at 2:01 of overtime extended the Edmonton Oilers’ win streak to a franchise-record 10 games, as the visitors edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Saturday night.
The win eclipsed the 2000-2001 Oilers team that won nine.
“We just found ways to win games. you don’t put a streak together by just relying on one line,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch.
“When you’re winning games, you have confidence, and you don’t have to doubt yourself or feel that you have to change your game. We just have to stick with it, and we’ll win hockey games.”
Montreal was first to find the back of the net less than two minutes into the game while on the power play. As they have done several times this season, Nick Suzuki spotted Caufield with a cross-seam pass, setting up a wide-open net and ending a five-game goal drought on the man advantage.
After gaining the lead, Montreal settled into a more defensive rhythm, allowing perimeter shots from Edmonton and looking to hit back on the counter.
“I think we played a very smart game, they’re a tough team to handle with their speed and their offensive game and I think we did that pretty well,” said Canadiens head coach Martin St Louis.
“The guys knew that it was going to be a big undertaking on the defensive side of the game, and we did just that. We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot and made sure our collective game was good.”
The second period began in similar fashion, but Edmonton would find more chances off the rush. Bouchard has the Oilers’ first significant chance of the game, sending a point shot off the post three minutes into the second period.
After that chance, Montreal once again shut the door, turning away wave after wave of Edmonton attacks and minimizing any scoring opportunities. After two periods, neither team had seen any sustained pressure develop as the Canadiens held on to their 1-0 lead.
The third period would be the opposite as the Oilers came out firing immediately. It would only take the 38 seconds to find an equalizer as Draisaitl smacked a rebound past Samuel Montembeault.
“Some nights, the puck just doesn’t go in, their goalie played great and made a lot of saves on some of our top guys, but we stuck with it, and we knew that we would find one or two,” said Draisaitl.
“It’s very mature hockey. Lots of teams are playing us hard every night and lots of credit to the group for battling through it and eventually getting wins.”
Montreal would have several chances of their own but failed to beat Stuart Skinner who made several crucial saves.
Smelling blood in the water, Edmonton kept pushing the tempo as Warren Foegele would hit the post during a two-on-one rush and Brown would force a breakaway stop from Montembeault to keep the game tied.
“I’m feeling good right now and every practice has been going well. The morning skate today was a really good one and that helps you get to the game knowing you’re ready,” said Montembeault who was the first star of the game with 41 saves.
“After that, I just have to stay focused, and the rest of the work comes on its own.”
With nothing separating the two teams, an extra frame would be needed, setting the stage for Bouchard’s heroics.
Canadiens: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
Oilers: Return home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2024.