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Looking to avoid a season-high third straight loss, the defending Western Conference champion Edmonton Oilers try to win just their second road game this season when they begin a grueling five-game trip against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Edmonton (7-6-0) began the season with six wins in eight contests but has since dropped four of five, including back-to-back defeats at home to Nashville and Dallas in the past week.
The Oilers have also lost their last three road games and have been outscored 19-10 in going 1-4-0 away from Rexall Place this season. Edmonton has allowed six goals in each of its last two road defeats.
On Friday, the Oilers caught a bad break in losing 3-2 to the Stars. Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky appeared to score the tying goal with four seconds left, but referee Mick McGeough waived it off because he blew his whistle during a faceoff, convinced that Shawn Horcoff made a glove pass off the draw.
Video replays showed that didn't happen, and McGeough realized he made a mistake after the game.
"It was a blown call on my part," he said. "It was poor judgment on my part. I thought he had his hand on the puck on the faceoff but it was his stick. My judgment was poor on the play."
Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish criticized McGeough after the game, saying he "should be suspended," and was fined $10,000 by the NHL on Saturday.
"While the NHL regrets the missed call, Craig MacTavish's comments after the game regarding the call were totally inappropriate and crossed the line," Colin Campbell, the league's director of hockey operations, said in a statement.
The bad call, however, had nothing to do with Edmonton's poor performance on special teams. The Oilers went 0-for-5 on the power play and are 0-for-8 over their last two games after scoring six power-play goals in the previous four contests.
The Oilers now begin a rough trip that will have them playing five games in seven days, starting with their first visit to Montreal since a 4-2 victory there on Nov. 4, 2003. Edmonton has won six of the last eight overall meetings with the Canadiens (7-3-3).
Montreal failed to win its third straight game Saturday, falling 2-1 at home to New Jersey. The Canadiens fell behind 2-0 before Chris Higgins scored his team-leading eighth goal during a power play in the second period, but the Devils' Martin Brodeur made 12 saves in the third to secure the victory.
Higgins injured his left ankle in the third period and will miss at least this game. He is scheduled to see a doctor Tuesday to determine how long he'll be out.
Montreal's Alex Kovalev is also banged up. The veteran winger, who has four goals and six assists this season, had to be helped off the ice late in the second period Saturday after hurting his right knee. He is, however, expected to play against Edmonton.