EDMONTON — The Montreal Canadiens knew that if they kept getting shots on net, they’d break through the Edmonton Oilers.
Paul Byron scored a pair of goals and added an assist as the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 4-1 victory in Edmonton on Sunday. All four goals came in a six-minute span in the third period, undoing the Oilers’ early 1-0 lead.
“We just stuck with it,” Byron said. “It was a matter of time, and we got some great bounces at the end.”
Max Pacioretty also scored a pair of goals for the Canadiens (39-22-8), who have won seven of their last eight games. Carey Price, who returned from the flu after missing his team’s 5-0 loss in Calgary, made 24 saves for the win.
“We get to go home with three wins out of four games on this trip … with everything we’ve had to face,” said Montreal head coach Claude Julien. “With the flu going around the team and everything else, we’re pretty happy with the road trip.”
Milan Lucic responded for the Oilers (35-24-9), who have lost three straight. Cam Talbot stopped 37 shots in net.
Although the Oilers have slipped into a wild card spot in the playoff race, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said it is not the time to get frustrated.
“We’re still in the thick of things. We can’t dwell on losses, we just have to keep moving forward,” he said. “At the start of the year is you asked us if we’d be in this spot. I’d take it after five years of not even being close. It’s going to be intense coming down the stretch here, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. We have to relish it. We can’t worry about what other teams are doing. If we win, we’re going to get in. Our fate is in our own hands now.”
Montreal had the bulk of its chances in the scoreless first period, putting 15 shots on Talbot compared six Oilers shots on Price.
Lucic outmuscled Alexei Emelin for the puck and then beat Price with a long shot for his 15th of the season four minutes into the second.
Talbot was forced to make several huge saves in the second period, as the shots favoured Montreal 26-16 through 40 minutes.
The Oilers almost added to their lead midway through the third, but Price made a huge save on a point-blank shot by Patrick Maroon.
“You can’t underestimate how important those saves are,” Julien said. “Another big duel of goaltenders, but we found ways to score goals in the end.”
Byron picked the puck up in front and sent it under Talbot for his 17th of the season with 6:27 left in the third to tie it 1-1 for the Canadiens.
Just over a minute later, it was 2-1 for Montreal as a puck went in off of defender Oscar Klefbom’s stick and was eventually credited to Pacioretty, after originally being announced for Alex Galchenyuk.
Byron sealed the deal for the Canadiens, scoring an empty-net goal with just over a minute remaining before Pacioretty added another with Talbot on the bench, his 33nd.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday, as the Oilers play the fifth game of an eight-game homestand against the Dallas Stars and the Habs return home to face the Chicago Blackhawks.
Notes – It was the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton won the first contest 1-0 in a shootout on Feb. 5 in Montreal… Montreal forward Alexander Radulov returned after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury, however centre Tomas Plekanec remained our with an upper-body injury.