The Montreal Canadiens haven't enjoyed much success on recent road trips through western Canada. They would like that to change as they battle for first place in the Northeast Division.
The Canadiens open a three-game trip Thursday night when they face the Edmonton Oilers, who are looking to build on their first home win in more than a month.
Coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Tuesday, in which the tiebreaker went 10 rounds, the Canadiens (31-20-7) open their swing through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in a first-place tie with Boston.
Though Montreal begins its trip against an Oilers team that has a league-low 42 points, the Canadiens have lost three straight and seven of eight at Rexall Place. They also have road losing streaks of four and eight games, respectively, versus the Flames and Canucks.
"We really need to concentrate on getting some points on this road trip," goaltender Carey Price told the Canadiens' official website. "The race is so tight right now and we're going to be up against teams that are playing really well right now."
Price made 30 saves through overtime and stopped six of 10 in the shootout Tuesday. He has a 4.20 goals-against average in four career games against the Oilers.
The Canadiens have been outscored 15-7 in their last three in Edmonton and have gone 1-5-2 in the last eight road matchups in the series.
The Oilers (17-32-8) snapped an overall three-game skid and season-worst seven-game slide at Rexall with a 4-1 victory over Dallas on Tuesday. Edmonton was sparked by the return of captain Shawn Horcoff, who had a goal and two assists after missing two games due to bronchitis.
"It was important tonight to respond in front of our fans," Horcoff said. "It was no secret we were challenged (by general manager Steve Tambellini prior to Monday's practice) and the fans knew we'd been challenged. It's important to show them what it's going to be like here in the future."
Tambellini called out the Oilers, telling them their goal should not be to earn the No. 1 overall draft pick by finishing with the league's worst record. Edmonton might avoid doing so if it can start to succeed on the power play.
The Oilers have converted a league-worst 12.0 percent with the man advantage, but went 2 for 6 against the Stars. Rookie Taylor Chorney's first NHL goal in the second period ended the club's 0-for-24 stretch on the power play.
The Oilers went 1 for 5 with the man advantage in a 4-3 overtime victory at Montreal on Dec. 1. Edmonton has gone 9-2-3 in the last 14 matchups.
Devan Dubnyk made 36 saves in the teams' last meeting, but he could be on the bench again after Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 24 shots Tuesday to snap a 14-game losing streak.
Khabibulin, who has started three straight games, has gone 5-1-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average in his last seven starts against Montreal. He made 33 saves in the teams' last matchup in Edmonton -- a 3-2 victory Oct. 10, 2009.
Price stopped 16 shots in that game and fell to 0-2-0 with a 5.04 GAA in two career starts at Rexall.
Late Wednesday, the Canadiens reacquired veteran defenseman Paul Mara from Anaheim for a draft pick. Mara, who had eight assists in 42 games with Montreal last season, had a goal and assist in 33 games with the Ducks in 2010-11.
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