Oilers could be facing feisty Habs

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:46 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The Habs just fired their coach and the last time they played Edmonton they lost 7-2.

Needless to say, the Oilers will be walking into a hornets' nest this evening at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

"I know that they're going to be fired up, this place will be humming tonight," defenceman Steve Staios said at the Oilers morning skate. "This will probably be our biggest test of the year."

Or close to it. With iron-fisted Bob Gainey stepping behind the bench in place of Guy Carbonneau, the Canadiens, who'd won five of seven before the firing, will want to be on their best behaviour.

"They're going to be charged up for sure," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose club sits in a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots in the West. "I've always found this atmosphere to be one of the best in the league, if not the best. And with all the activity that's gone on in the last couple of days, the atmosphere is going to be electric in here.‰

An Oilers win would give them a 2-1-1 trip, not great, but not bad considering how bleak things looked after an overtime loss in Nashville and a upset loss in Ottawa.

"Five of eight points on this trip would be OK, we'd be happy with that," said Sheldon Souray. "It would be nice to finish this road trip on a positive note and get home for a few games, try to build some momentum at home, which we haven't been able to do."

Souray, a former Habs, returns to Montreal for the second time this season. He received a nice hand at the All-Star game, but it could be a different story now that he's part of the opposition.

"I've heard it here for seven years," he said. "So it's nothing new for me."

Dustin Penner will be a healthy scratch tonight, while Robert Nilsson draws in.


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