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Hemsky scores twice, Oilers beat Canadiens 4-1

Ales Hemsky scored twice and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Thursday night.

Jordan Eberle and Ryan Jones had third-period goals 15 seconds apart for the Oilers, who have won two straight at home following seven consecutive losses in Edmonton.

Jeff Halpern scored for the Canadiens, who have lost five of six. The Canadiens have dropped four straight and eight of nine in Edmonton, where they haven't won since Nov. 22, 2003.

Already short of experience on the blue line, Montreal lost defenseman James Wisniewski 7 minutes into the first as he was hit in the face with Taylor Hall's shot and did not return.

Edmonton opened the scoring 8 minutes in when Hemsky fired his 11th goal of the season past goaltender Carey Price.

Price kept it from becoming a two-goal game when he robbed Eberle with a quick glove save in tight.

The Oilers had another great opportunity in the waning seconds as the puck was bouncing in front of the Montreal goal before the horn sounded.

Edmonton had 11 first-period shots while Montreal fired eight on Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, making his second straight start after snapping a 14-game losing streak Tuesday.

Montreal tied it 1-all at 4:06 of the second as the puck bounced around in the crease after a hard point shot before Halpern tucked it under Khabibulin in a mad scramble.

Khabibulin made some big stops to keep the game even after 40 minutes, particularly when he came across to deny Alexandre Picard in close on the game's only power play through the first two periods.

Edmonton took a 3-1 lead with Eberle and Jones scoring 15 seconds apart in the third.

Eberle scored 3:58 in, taking Hall's pass before seemingly catching Price by surprise with a high shot from in tight.

The Oilers made it a two-goal game off the ensuing faceoff as Jones took the puck up ice and put it in off Price's pads.

Hemsky added an empty-net goal with less than a minute left.

The Oilers close out a six-game homestand Saturday against Atlanta. Montreal next plays in the Heritage Classic outdoor game in Calgary on Sunday.

Notes: Canadiens coach Jacques Martin tied Bryan Murray for seventh on the career list for games behind the bench at 1,239. Martin is also 13 wins from 600. ... It was the second of two meetings between the teams. Edmonton won the previous one 4-3 in overtime at Montreal on Dec. 1. ... Montreal defenseman Hal Gill missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury while Jaroslav Spacek also sat out with a lower-body ailment. ... Seeking some defensive help, the Canadiens traded a 2012 fifth-round pick to Anaheim for defenseman Paul Mara, who played in 42 games with Montreal in 2009-10. ... Edmonton forward Gilbert Brule is reportedly close to returning to the team. Brule has missed more than a month with a bad ankle and a prolonged battle with the flu.