The Edmonton Oilers conclude a four-game home stand tonight at Rogers Place when they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes. It is the first of two meetings on the season between the sides.
The Oilers have not had the best home stand, managing just three of a possible six points thus far. They are 1-1-1 after Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres.
Mikko Koskinen gets the start for the Oilers, while Petr Mrazek gets the nod for the Hurricanes.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: A better start is a must. The Oilers weren’t ready to go on Sunday night and found themselves down 2-0 after one period. Although they clawed back and got a point, that isn’t a recipe for success. The Oilers need to be better from the opening puck drop tonight against a very good Hurricanes team.
Carolina: The Hurricanes are one of the best possession teams in the NHL, and they have been for years. As a result, they seemingly always give the Oilers fits. If Carolina is able to play their normal possession game, they could run the Oilers out of the building. Edmonton struggles against teams that can set up in the zone and dictate the pace.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Zack Kassian looked rusty in his return from injury on Sunday night. That said, the veteran is enjoying a terrific campaign and it isn’t hard to imagine him rebounding tonight. With the rust knocked off after eight days off, expect Kassian to make a difference tonight.
Carolina: Once a throw-in for the Blackhawks in a salary sump trade, Teuvo Teravainen has emerged as a legit top six forward in Carolina. He has 29 points (7-22-29) in 30 games this season and is an absolute weapon on the powerplay. His speed and skill combination is deadly.
Matt Benning (head) remains on IR, while Brandon Manning, Alex Chiasson and Sam Gagner are scratched up front. Patrick Russell returns to the forward group, while Caleb Jones was recalled on Monday and will suit up. Joel Persson was assigned to Bakersfield.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Joakim Nygard – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl
James Neal – Gaetan Haas – Patrick Russell
Markus Granlund – Riley Sheahan – Josh Archibald
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell – Caleb Jones
The Hurricanes made some additions over the summer. The club inked Ryan Dzingel and Jake Gardiner in free agency, then flipped Justin Faulk to St. Louis for Joel Edmundson. They also acquired Erik Haula from Vegas, but he is currently injured and will not play. Martin Necas is also out hurt.
Carolina Hurricanes Lines:
Andrei Svechnikov – Jordan Staal – Warren Foegele
Nino Niederreiter – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Brock McGinn – Lucas Wallmark – Jordan Martinook
Ryan Dzingel – Clark Bishop – Brian Gibbons
Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Joel Edmundson – Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner – Trevor Van Riemsdyk
The Hurricanes swept the Oilers a season ago, taking a 7-4 decision at Rogers Place on January 20th. The Canes completed the sweep on February 15th with a 3-1 win in Raleigh. The sides will finish the series on February 18th in Carolina.
Tonight will be a special teams battle. Since November 9th, the Hurricanes and Oilers are the top two teams in the NHL on the penalty kill. Carolina has killed off 93.3% of penalties taken, while the Oilers have killed 90.5%.
Leon Draisaitl didn’t record a point in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss against Buffalo. That’s a rarity for this season. Draisaitl has recorded a point in 26 games so far in the season. That is a league high. Speaking of league high marks, Oscar Klefbom’s 102 blocked shots leads the league.