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Mar 18, 2024 8:35 pm

Oilers brush off OT loss, turn attention to Canadiens

Connor McDavid hyman

Some losses are not as crushing as others. Even when they come in the final second of overtime.

Therefore, the Edmonton Oilers are having no problems regrouping from Saturday’s 3-2 setback at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche as they prepare to host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

The Oilers (40-21-4, 84 points) have plenty to feel good about as they look back on the Colorado game. They trailed going into the third period before earning a 2-1 lead, which they lost with less than six minutes remaining in regulation, eventually surrendering the game-winner.

“It was a good game. It was a playoff-like game, tight checking,” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. “I thought we did a good job of wrestling a lead.”

The overtime loss leaves the Oilers eight points back of the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Edmonton has three games in hand, though, so there is still time to make a charge.

“You’re not going to win every game,” Edmonton forward Zach Hyman said. “We probably could have won, and they feel the same way. It was one of those that feels different than a normal regular-season game and that was a strong test for us.”

Plus, the Oilers are integrating a couple of forwards in Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.

“We’re heading down the stretch here where we’re getting close to that time of year, a fun time of year,” said Carrick, who on Saturday scored his first goal since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks. “There’s under 20 games here to really build chemistry, no matter who’s in the lineup and what the lines are. Figure out your linemates and how they play. You want to be able to roll four lines throughout the playoffs.”

The Canadiens (25-31-11, 61 points) arrive in Edmonton after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday to open a five-game road trip. Although they have not yet been officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff chase, the Canadiens are near that moment but doing their best to keep plugging along while hoping for a miracle.

“Just keep going, I think,” said Montreal forward Cole Caufield, who reached the 20-goal mark for the third straight season with a goal in Calgary. “We have spurts where we’re really good. Just have to look at those things and find what we can do better. A lot of guys in this room want it a little bit more, and as long as we do that, we’re headed in the right direction.”

One positive is that Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2022, continues to show promise. During a four-game point streak, he has recorded five points (one goal, four assists).

The Canadiens have dropped four of five games and are 3-8-3 in their past 14. But that is not the only tough news to digest. Head coach Martin St. Louis has left the team indefinitely due to family reasons, with assistant coach Trevor Letowski handling things behind the bench.

“It was obviously different with Marty not being here, but we have a really good group in here, a lot of good coaches,” Montreal captain Nick Suzuki said. “It was business as usual. Obviously missing him and hoping and wishing for the best for him.”

–Field Level Media

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