Following a nine-day enforced layoff caused by COVID-19, the Canadiens showed no signs of lethargy Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
In one of its most-complete performances this season, Montreal defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0, winning consecutive games for the first time since the beginning of February.
The Canadiens were playing for the first time since March 20, after Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on March 22, eventually resulting in four home games — including three against the Oilers — being postponed and the team’s practice facility shuttered for a week.
The Canadiens didn’t return to practice until Monday night.
Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar scored for Montreal. Carey Price had a relatively uneventful night, blocking only 17 shots for his first shutout this season and 49th of his career.
The Canadiens improved to 15-8-9, strengthening their hold on the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. The Oilers, now 22-14-1, were playing their third game in four nights.
Had this game been drawn up by a Hollywood scriptwriter, it couldn’t have begun more favourably for the Canadiens, who opened the scoring at 18 seconds on their opening shot.