MONTREAL (AP) — Mike Smith made 38 saves in his second start of the season for his 40th career shutout in the Edmonton Oilers’ 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
The 38-year-old Smith started the season on long-term injured reserve because of an undisclosed ailment. He made his season debut Monday night with a 3-1 victory 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. The Oilers won the final three games on a four-game trip to improve to 8-8-0.
Jake Allen made 28 saves for Montreal. The Canadiens dropped to 8-5-2, losing for the third time in four games — all at home.
“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 favor. Right now there’s a bit of frustration that’s really hurting us more than it’s helping us.”
Khaira opened the scoring at 11:13 of the first period. He picked up a pass from Josh Archibald through the feet of Jeff Petry and beat Allen.
Nurse was credited with his sixth goal of the season 1:27 into the second period. Allen saved the defenseman’s initial shot, but Montreal captain Shea Weber inadvertently put the puck in the net when his clearing attempt deflected off teammate Phillip Danault.
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.
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.
There was a scary moment in the second period when Montreal forward Paul Byron was hit in the head by a slap shot from teammate Joel Edmundson. Byron went to the Canadiens dressing room but returned to the game shortly after.
Oilers: Host Winnipeg on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Canadiens: At Toronto on Saturday night.