It was the most intense, physical game played at Rogers Place involving the Edmonton Oilers in quite sometime. In fact, it may have been the most intense, entertaining game the Edmonton Oilers have played since the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers and Montreal Canadiens played a highly physical and entertaining game on Monday night that saw everyone involved in the hitting.
In the end, the Oilers used their most dominating period of the season to storm back and defeat the Canadiens 4-1 on Monday night. The victory moves the Oilers nine points ahead of the Canadiens in the standings, and brings them within a single point on the Winnipeg Jets for second place.
“That’s the kind of hockey we’re going to have down the stretch,” Ethan Bear, who scored his first goal of the season to tie the game, said after the win. “Everyone is trying to push for the playoffs and make sure they’re ready, so when playoff time comes you just play. It’s about building your game and I think we’re doing a good job of that.”
Bear is right. After a stretch where the Oilers didn’t play well at all at five-on-five, they have awoken in their past two games. The Oilers controlled the game in Saturday night’s 3-0 victory over the Jets, then found their legs and controlled the final forty minutes against the Canadiens on Monday.
What was even more impressive about the win? It was truly the first time all season, in their sixth meeting, that the Oilers were clearly the better team against Montreal. They finally matched their physicality, and finally carried the play at five-on-five.
“It was a tight, playoff-style game and I liked the way we stayed with it and got the win,” Head Coach Dave Tippett told reporters after the game. Much has been made about the Oilers record against playoff teams this season, but the club is now 5-1-2 in their last eight against those clubs.
Monday night wasn’t just an entertaining game that featured a level of physicality that we haven’t seen all season. Monday night was a statement win for the Edmonton Oilers. There were plenty of questions about this group’s ability to answer the bell physically, to control play at five-on-five, and to beat the good teams in this North Division.
All of those questions were answered, with authority, on Monday night.