Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) makes a save on Montreal Canadiens centre Nick Suzuki (14) during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

After starting the season on long-term injured reserve and missing the first month of action, Mike Smith wanted to make sure he was well prepared when he finally returned to the Edmonton Oilers crease.

So far so good for the veteran netminder, who picked up a shutout in just his second start of the campaign.

Smith made 38 stops as the Oilers beat the suddenly struggling Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday. The 38-year-old picked up the 40th shutout of his career, and his first against Montreal.

Story continues below advertisement

Smith is now 2-0 on the season after posting a 3-1 win over Ottawa in his season debut Monday.

“You want to come back and not feel like you’ve missed a beat,” Smith said. “Obviously the first two games have gone really well for me, I felt like I was prepared for these games. When you feel like you’re prepared, usually things go your way.”

Jujhar Khaira, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie scored for Edmonton (9-7-0), which won its third straight game – and six of its last seven – 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 (8-4-2) 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.

“Our game has gone down a notch,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “Our quick transition isn’t quite there.

“You don’t want to panic, you want to do the little things right, and the little things right eventually play in your favour. Right now there’s a bit of frustration that’s really hurting us more than it’s helping us.”

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Khaira, who was waived and sent to the team’s taxi squad at the start of the season, now has five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games.

“JJ, he’s a powerful man,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “He’s strong on the puck, he’s really good down low in our zone, and it’s nice to see him get rewarded with a goal with the work he’s putting in.”

Khaira’s goal 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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

“There’s been puck luck going the other way, so it’s nice to see you get back a few of those,” Tippett said.

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

“It’s been going on for a while, between the bubble and coming into the season,” Tippett said of COVID-19′s affect on the NHL. “It’s part of our world now so you almost get numb to it.

“It’s part of what we’re dealing with not just in hockey, but as a world right now, so it becomes less of a factor. You do what you have to do, follow the protocols and go about your business.”

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.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies