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Habs can't hold off Oilers' rally

Thursday, 15.12.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal Canadiens
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Habs can\'t hold off Oilers\' rally
Canadiens drop sixth straight on the road

Edmonton native Sheldon Souray continued his solid play of late, adding two more assists against the Oilers.

EDMONTON (CP) - Sooner or later, it had to happen.  For the first time this season, the Canadiens came out on the short end of the score when leading after 40 minutes, as they fell 5-3 to the Oilers Thursday night in Edmonton.

The loss was Montreal's (16-9-5) sixth straight on the road, with their last victory coming in a 3-2 win over Buffalo on Nov. 4.  The Oilers (17-11-4) got back on the winning track after two straight shootout losses.

Ethan Moreau wired a slap shot from right circle over the blocker of Jose Thedore for the winning goal on a power play, and Fernando Pisani capped a three point night by scoring into an empty net.

Pisani's first goal of the night early in the third tied the game 3-3. Marc-Andre Bergeron and Raffi Torres also scored for Edmonton.

Chris Higgins had a goal and assist with Garth Murray and Michael Ryder also scoring for Montreal. It was the Oilers' first game of the season against a Northeast division opponent.

Murray opened the scoring for the Canadiens, sliding the puck through Edmonton goaltender Ty Conklin's legs for his first goal as a Montreal Canadien and his second point in as many games since being called up from Hamilton.

Conklin, in just his second appearance since Oct. 21, made 16 stops for his first win since Oct. 5.

The Oilers then took a pair of high-sticking penalties in a six-second span to set up Ryder's power-play goal. Mike Ribeiro picked up an assist on the tally for his sixth helper in his last five games.

Jose Theodore finished with 23 saves for his seventh loss. He slumped to the ice in the second period and stayed down for several minutes with what appeared to be an leg or groin injury but remained in the game.

The Canadiens will next head to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Saturday.

NOTES:  After sitting out three games with a groin injury, C Saku Koivu was out of the lineup with the flu for second straight game as was D Mark Streit.. C Radek Bonk (groin) missed his fourth straight, and RW Alex Kovalev sat out his 12th game since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Nov. 15. Kovalev, who is back practicing with the team, is soon expected to return to the lineup... With a goal and an assist, Higgins had his first multi-point game of this NHL career...D Sheldon Souray picked up a pair of assists, with now seven over the past eight games after having amassing only three points in his first 17 games of the season... With 19 shots on the night, the Canadiens matched a season-low, including three apiece in the final two periods...Montreal was 1-for-7 on the power-play while the Oilers went 2-for-8...Canadiens' owner George Gillett took in the game at Rexall Place.

Alexandre Harvey, a writer for canadiens.com, contributed to this report.