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Hyman, Draisaitl lead Edmonton past struggling Habs 7-2; Kane scores in Oilers debut

MONTREAL — It was the newest member of the Edmonton Oilers who got the ball rolling Saturday. New signing Evander Kane scored the first of seven goals for Edmonton as the Oilers steamrolled the struggling Montreal Canadiens 7-2.

MONTREAL — It was the newest member of the Edmonton Oilers who got the ball rolling Saturday.

New signing Evander Kane scored the first of seven goals for Edmonton as the Oilers steamrolled the struggling Montreal Canadiens 7-2. 

Kane's first-period goal sparked the offence. It was the first of three in quick succession, and the first time Edmonton scored first in its past 12 games.

“When you get to a new team and you’re being brought in to produce and you produce in your first game it definitely is a good feeling,” Kane said. “I know the boys were telling me they hadn’t scored first in a long time so it was nice to help out in that way.”

Kane, the controversial forward, signed with Edmonton on Thursday. The NHL recently cleared Kane after an investigation into his cross-border travel during the holiday break.

Earlier this month, the Sharks terminated the remainder of his $49 million, seven-year contract for violating virus protocol while in the American Hockey League. 

His new teammates were glad to see him succeed on Saturday.

“Honestly, it was nice to get the first one,” said Zach Hyman, who scored twice. “It was nice to get a lead and it was nice to see Kane get it. Any time you play your first game it’s always nice to get on the board, so good for him.”

Coach Dave Tippett was happy with what he saw from Kane’s first NHL game this season, jumping in and getting an early goal.

“He looks in decent shape, you can tell he’s a little rusty,” Tippett said. “He hasn't played in a while so he’ll pick up the speed a little bit. But it’s good to get him in the line and get him going.”

Hyman and Leon Draisaitl each scored twice in Edmonton's easy win.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Derek Ryan also scored for Edmonton (22-16-2). Hyman and Nugent-Hopkins had an assist apiece, while Duncan Keith and Warren Foegele each chipped in with two helpers.

On a rare occasion, Connor McDavid didn’t pick up a single point but his teammates carried the load. All four lines contributed goals, most notably the third line composed of Hyman, Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian with three.

“Hyman had a really strong game,” Tippett said. “We talked to them about trying to give us a little more depth and that line is a line that can play against anybody. Big, small, skilled, unskilled, they’re just a good line and they showed it tonight.”

For Hyman, having more depth down the team gives added confidence when he jumps on the ice for his next shift.

“I think that when you’re able to run four lines, it runs on teams and you’re able to be fresh,” Hyman said. “It’s not fun to play against when you’ve got a new set of guys who are just going out every shift.”

Stuart Skinner made 21 saves from 23 shots as Edmonton won its fourth in a row.

The Oilers scored three goals in the first period and another three in the second.

Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli replied for the Canadiens (8-28-7), which lost their fifth straight game.

Coach Dominique Ducharme pulled his starting goalie for the second time in as many games.

Samuel Montembeault allowed six goals on 16 shots before being pulled after two periods. In relief, Cayden Primeau blocked seven of eight shots fired his way.

“I liked the way we reacted in the second period but every time we scored they came back with a goal. I don’t think we gave up,” Ducharme said.

It took Kane 11:21 to score his first goal as an Oiler, with Edmonton’s newest signing redirecting Evan Bouchard’s shot from the point.

Hyman then redirected Kris Russell’s shot from the point to notch a 2-0 lead at 12:48.

Draisaitl got his 30th goal of the season when his shot deflected on Rem Pitlick’s skate at 13:08, giving Edmonton a 3-0 advantage by the end of the first period.

The three goals were scored less than two minutes apart.

Anderson got a goal back early in the second period when he grabbed Skinner’s rebound and tapped in a first goal for Montreal.

The Oilers responded when Hyman fought off Ben Chiarot in the corner and found Nugent-Hopkins with a cross-ice pass. The centreman beat Montembeault at 6:18 for his fourth goal of the season.

Hyman then got his second of the night with a sharp wrist shot at 14:20.

Toffoli scored a one-timer power-play goal for Montreal to make it a 5-2 game at 15:09 but the celebration was short lived. Draisaitl needed just 24 seconds to answer with his second marker of the night.

To cap off Edmonton’s crushing victory, Ryan added a seventh goal with 34 seconds left in regulation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2022.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press