Oilers 3 Canadiens 0
MONTREAL — Mike Smith made 38 saves in his second start of the season as the Edmonton Oilers beat the suddenly struggling Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday.
Smith picked up the 40th shutout of his career, and his first against Montreal.
Jujhar Khaira, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie scored for Edmonton (8-8-0), which won its third straight game and finished 3-1 on its four-game road trip.
Montreal goaltender Jake Allen made 28 saves, many of them difficult, in a losing cause.
The Canadiens (8-5-2) have three losses, all coming at home, over their last four games. One of the most offensively potent teams at the start of the season, the Habs have managed just six goals over that span.
Edmonton was 1-for-3 on the power play, while Montreal was 0-for-1.
The Canadiens applied more of the offensive pressure early in the game — including a Nick Suzuki breakaway that Smith stopped — but the Oilers struck first when Khaira scored 11:13 into the first period.
Khaira picked up a pass from Josh Archibald through the feet of Jeff Petry and beat Allen for his fifth point of the season (two goals, three assists), all coming in his last five games.
That seemed to energize the Oilers, who had several good chances to increase their lead. Allen made big saves on Alex Chaisson and Kyle Turris, while Barrie rang a shot off the post.
Montreal outshot Edmonton 11-8 in the first, yet Allen looked like the more tested goalie as the Oilers dominated the neutral zone and had the better transition chances.
Nurse was credited with his sixth goal of the season 1:27 into the second period. Allen saved the defenceman’s initial shot, but Montreal captain Shea Weber inadvertently put the puck in the net when his clearing attempt deflected off teammate Phillip Danault.
Allen continued to do his best to keep Montreal in the game, stopping an Adam Larsson slapshot about four minutes into the second. He came up big again later in the period, stopping Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid twice with Edmonton on the power play.
At the other end, Smith looked good with late stops on Suzuki, one of the few consistently dangerous Habs on the night, and Petry.
Barrie made it 3-0 when he ripped a shot past Allen from the blue line with the Oilers on a power play at 4:44 of the third period.
Edmonton was coming off a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Tuesday in which superstar forwards McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the scoresheet for the first time in 11 games. McDavid was held scoreless again, while Draisaitl picked up an assist on Barrie’s goal.
There was a scary moment in the second period when Montreal forward Paul Byron was hit in the head by a slapshot from Habs defenceman Joel Edmundson. Byron went to the Canadiens dressing room but returned to the game shortly after.
The opening face off was pushed back an hour after Edmonton forward Jesse Puljujarvi was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
A player on the protocol list does not necessarily have COVID-19. The NHL has postponed 35 games so far this season, but none yet in the all-Canadian North Division.
The Oilers are off until Monday, when they will play the first of two home dates with Winnipeg.
The Canadiens will face the NHL-leading Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday.
NOTES: Nurse’s sixth goal moved him into a tie with Petry for the league lead among defenceman. … The Oilers lead the league with 13 goals from defencemen. … The last time McDavid was held pointless in back-to-back games was Dec. 18 and Dec. 20, 2019.