MONTREAL (AP)Jordan Harris had his first career two-goal game and the Montreal Canadiens earned wins on back-to-back afternoons with a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Alex Belzile, Josh Anderson, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Christian Dvorak added goals for Montreal. Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Drouin each recorded two assists. Jake Allen made 30 saves.
”It’s not only the result, it’s how we won that’s important,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. ”We keep trying to build, there’s a lot of engagement and a big buy-in from the guys to keep playing together offensively and defensively. The break helped us but I think it’s a progression.”
Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane scored for Edmonton. Connor McDavid ended a 15-game point streak. Stuart Skinner made 24 saves as the Oilers recorded their first regulation loss in 12 games. They were on a 9-0-2 run heading into Sunday’s contest.
Belzile opened the scoring for the Canadiens with his first NHL goal at 8:14 of the opening frame, taking advantage of some confusion between Oilers defenseman Brett Kulak and Skinner and scored on a wrist shot from the high slot.
Montreal doubled its lead in the second period when Dadonov found Harris with a pass from behind Skinner’s net. Anderson gave the Habs a commanding 3-0 lead on the power play when he grabbed a rebound from Dadonov’s shot and tapped in his 15th of the campaign.
”The (defensemen) are hot right now, hopefully we can keep it up,” Harris said. ”But I feel like it really starts with us defending. I feel like we’ve done a good job defending and jumping up on the rush and I feel like a lot of our D-men have those skill-sets to make plays offensively.”
Edmonton woke up from a slow opening frame with two goals in the second period. Draisaitl hopped on a Zach Hyman rebound to score 30th goal of the season on the power play.
The Oilers then cut their deficit to one when Kane surprised Allen with a swift wrist shot from the right face off circle. But Montreal nipped Edmonton’s comeback attempt in the bud by bumping their lead back to two goals late in the second period when Harvey-Pinard redirected Mike Matheson’s slap shot.
”I thought both teams got what they deserved,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. ”Montreal played a very good game, credit to them, and I didn’t think we were very sharp at all so we got what we deserved.”
Harris completed his two-goal game at 2:58 of the final period by beating Skinner with a wrister from the left faceoff circle.
BELZILE MAKES HISTORY
At 31 years and 165 days old, Belzile became the oldest Canadien to score his first NHL goal since Hockey Hall of Famer Herb Gardiner in 1926. Belzile also became the seventh-oldest player in league history to get a goal.
Belzile received an ovation from the crowd.
”It was unbelievable,” Belzile said. ”I’ve watched it in my head many times, and recently I had scoring chances as well, but I kept convincing myself that it’s gonna come for real. There’s a lot of mental behind it and I’m just so so so happy and so glad that it happened.”
St. Louis said he was happy for Belzile: ”A lot of people will never reach their full potential because they give up a little too early … I know he scored today but he also had an impact (on the game).”
One of the few happy moments for Edmonton was reserved for defenseman Vincent Desharnais, who played his first game in his home province in front of a group of 40 friends and family members.
”I appreciated it a bit more in warmups,” Desharnais said. ”I saw my brother, my niece, but when the game starts, it’s an arena like any other and I have to do my job.”
Oilers: Host Red Wings on Wednesday.
Canadiens: Host Blackhawks on Tuesday.
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