After a thrilling 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night, the Edmonton Oilers are ready for more intensity when they host the Montreal Canadiens Sunday night.
“They’re a tenacious team. They’re always going to be a team that works for everything,” said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after Saturday’s practice.
The Oilers beat the Canadiens 1-0 in a shootout in Montreal on February 5. Since then, the Habs have changed coaches with Claude Julien replacing Michel Therrien. They’ve gone 7-3-0 since Julien took over.
“I think he’s probably pushing buttons a little bit differently in the locker room,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “They’re a very good hockey club.”
The Canadiens lead the Atlantic Division with a record of 38-22-8. Carey Price is expected to start in goal.
“They got some skill, some speed. It’s the NHL. Everyone is pretty close nowadays. Obviously, you have to keep an eye out on Connor,” said Price, who has recovered from an illness that kept him out of Thursday’s 5-0 loss in Calgary.
Defenceman Brandon Davidson, who was traded to the Canadiens by the Oilers on February 28, may not play Sunday. He wasn’t one of the Habs’ top six defenceman at their Saturday practice.
Catch the Oilers and Canadiens on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show Sunday at 3:30pm. The game starts at 5pm. (jrw)