Montreal Canadiens breeze past the Edmonton Oilers after lengthy break

Mar 30, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers with teammates during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, fresh off the NHL’s coronavirus list, scored 18 seconds into the game and the Montreal Canadiens went on to defeat the visiting Edmonton Oilers 4-0 Tuesday night.

Artturi Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist and goaltender Carey Price made 16 saves for his first shutout of the season and the 49th of his 14-year career.

Tomas Tatar also scored and Paul Byron and Phillip Danault each had two assists for the Canadiens, who were playing for the first time since March 20 after having to pause all activities after Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were placed in the COVID-19 protocol on March 22.

Tuesday’s game was a makeup of one of the three games the teams were scheduled to play at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens were originally set to play Tuesday in Ottawa, but that was changed and the Oilers had their trip extended a day after a 3-2 overtime victory Monday in Toronto.

The Canadiens looked fresh, scoring twice in the opening 3:23 and three times in the first period.

Kotkaniemi led a three-on-two break from his own end, skating the puck over the red line and into the offensive zone before passing to Byron on the left wing. Byron left a drop pass from Kotkaniemi, whose one-timer beat Mikko Koskinen from between the faceoff circles.

Lehkonen made it 2-0 at 3:23, sweeping a rebound of a shot by Byron into the net and Gallagher scored at 15:58 on the rebound of a Shea Weber shot from the right point.

Tatar made it 4-0 at 17:54 of the second, taking a cross-ice pass from Danault and beating Koskinen with a one-timer.

Koskinen stopped 28 of 32 shots for the Oilers, who went 1-1-1 on their shortened trip.

Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, the league leader with 63 points, had his point streak snapped at 11 games. McDavid had seven goals and 16 assists during the run.

–Field Level Media