Oilers Gameday: @ Carolina


After dropping the first game of their vital three-game eastern road trip, the Oilers head to Carolina tonight looking for revenge. After being embarrassed on home ice in January by the Canes, the Oil get their last shot at the them this season in North Carolina before heading to Brooklyn tomorrow night.

The Oil will dress a very similar lineup to the one that had chances but came up just short against the Penguins on Wednesday. They’ll be looking to win in Carolina for the second consecutive year after topping the Canes in Raleigh last season.

Mikko Koskinen gets another start for Oil, while Curtis McElhinney gets the nod for Carolina.

Keys To The Game:

Edmonton: The Oilers have to do a better job paying attention to details tonight. It cost them two points on Wednesday as far too often they got careless and far too lazy in their own zone. Stay within the game plan and avoid those lapses. Pay attention to details and you might have a chance in this hockey game.

Carolina: The transition game of the Canes is going to be key tonight. They destroyed Edmonton last month by playing a quick game and attacking the Oil’s defenders with speed. The Oil will be dressing a slow defensive group tonight and could be exploited in many of the same ways.

Players To Watch:

Edmonton: Mikko Koskinen has to be better. He made some key saves on Wednesday, but gave up a terrible shorthanded goal that proved costly in such a tight game. Koskinen, quite frankly, hasn’t been very good since December and needs a few strong games in a row moving forward. I’ll be watching him extra close tonight.

Carolina: I’ve always liked Nino Niederreiter’s game and thought Carolina won that trade by a landslide when it happened last month. He’s had a terrific start with the Canes and has helped them become one of the best teams in the league since the turn of the New Year. I’m interested to watch him up close tonight to see how he fits with his new team.

The Lines:

Ken Hitchcock, who watched practice from the stands yesterday, confirmed that the same defense will go tonight. That means no Brandon Manning, who will be a healthy scratch, and no Matt Benning. Up front, expect Kyle Brodziak to sit again.

Edmonton Oilers Lines:

Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jesse Puljujarvi
Milan Lucic – Brad Malone – Alex Chiasson
Tobias Rieder – Colby Cave – Ty Rattie

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Kevin Gravel – Alex Petrovic

Mikko Koskinen

Jordan Staal is closing in on a return to the Carolina lineup, but is not expected to be ready tonight. Justin Williams and Jordan Martinook are both banged up but are both expected to dress for the Canes.

Carolina Hurricanes Lines:

Nino Niederreiter – Sebastian Aho – Justin Williams
Michael Ferland – Lucas Wallmark – Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov – Jordan Martinook – Brock McGinn
Warren Foegele – Greg McKegg – Saku Maenalanen

Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce – Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan – Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Curtis McElhinney

Game Notes:

Playoff update time for the Oilers, because even though hope is basically dead math says we have to. The Oil are six points back of the Minnesota Wild for a Wild Card berth with a game in hand. The Wild will take on the Devils tonight, who have become the NHL’s version of a free space lately.

The Oil have lost three of their last four with the Hurricanes, with their only victory coming in Carolina a season ago by a score of 7-3. The teams haven’t played an overtime game against each other since January 4th, 2016, when Andrej Sekera scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Edmonton victory at Rexall Place.

The Hurricanes are in the thick of the playoff race as well right now, and have been extremely hot as of late. The Canes enter tonight having gone 7-2-1 in their last ten and sit three points out (64 to Pittsburgh’s 67) of the final Wild Card spot in the East.

Game Prediction:

I hate watching games in Carolina because it reminds me so damn much of Game 7 in 2006. Of course, the better memory is Fernando Pisani’s overtime game winner in Game 5, but the pain still remains.

Pain is the theme tonight, as the frustration grows in a 4-1 Oiler loss.

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