EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have hit the reset button on the season.
Connor McDavid and Jujhar Khaira each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers extended their winning streak to a season-high four games, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Saturday.
There was a bit of a scare for Edmonton late in the game when McDavid limped off the ice after blocking a shot with his foot late in the third period, but Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said post-game that it doesn’t appear to be an injury that could cost his star player any time off the ice.
“The doctor’s have X-rayed it and it came back negative,” McLellan said. “His foot is a little sore obviously from blocking it, but he’s in good spirits. The three days (break) will help him and I fully expect him to play in Winnipeg (on Dec. 27).”
Ryan Strome and Milan Lucic also scored and Leon Draisaitl had three assists for the Oilers, who have reached the .500 mark for the first time since their second game of the season, sitting at 17-17-2.
“I think we’ve been playing some really good hockey lately,” Draisaitl said. “We’re back to playing the way we were playing last year. We have all four lines going right now. It’s nice to take that into the break.”
Oilers goal Cam Talbot, who made 29 saves to pick up his career-high seventh consecutive win in the Edmonton net, explained the Oilers reversal of fortune of late.
“It says we are a resilient group,” he said. “We could have folded our hand after we got down and everybody said we had no chance of making the playoffs and counted us out. But we still believed in this room. Obviously .500 isn’t where we wanted to be at this point, but it is a good place to start from after the break.”
Andrew Shaw replied for the Canadiens (16-16-4), who had a two-game winning streak ended.
“We were playing a good hockey team and we made key mistakes at certain times of the game,” said Habs forward Brendan Gallagher. “We had our chances. Their goalie made some saves, it’s nothing to hang our head about, the effort.”
Edmonton got the game’s first goal with six minutes left to play in the third as Khaira got the puck across to a hard-charging Strome, who beat Montreal goalie Antti Niemi with a one-timer for his seventh goal of the season.
The Oilers made it 2-0 two minutes later as McDavid went for a skate before sending a long wrist shot through a screen and in for his 14th.
Edmonton added to its lead four minutes into the middle period with a power-play goal as Draisaitl made a perfect feed in front to give Lucic a wide-open net to deposit the puck into.
Montreal got on the board with seven minutes left in the second period on a power-play goal of its own as a Paul Bryon shot his Shaw and trickled into the net behind Talbot. The Oilers unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender interference on the play.
Edmonton put the game away with an empty-netter by Khaira.
Both teams are off until Dec. 27, when the Oilers head to Winnipeg to face the Jets, while the Canadiens are on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Notes: It was the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton won the first contest 6-2 on Dec. 9 in Montreal… Both teams were missing key defenceman as Montreal was without Shea Weber (foot) and Edmonton was without Oscar Klefbom (upper body).