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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

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Oilers look to close out four game homestand at .500 with visit from a bunch of jerks

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (18-10-4) 1st, Pacific vs

Carolina Hurricanes (18-11-1) 5th, Metro

10 December 2019

Rogers Arena

700 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Canes Country

WHEN A LOSS IS WORTH ONE

The Edmonton Oilers picked up a point in their OT loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night. Edmonton yielded two goals in the first period when Kyle Okposo scored on a tip form a Marco Scandella point shot. Johan Larsson scored a few minutes later on a Mike Smith rebound to put the Sabres up 2-0 midway through the first. The Oilers would make it interesting when...Riley Sheahan would score his first as an Oiler, and Joakim Nygard would score his second of the year on the power play. Both teams headed into the third tied at 2-all, both teams would have just six shots in the third period and would head to overtime. Buffalo’s Colin Miller would put it away off a turnover after a minute in OT. The Oilers would collect a point to remain atop the Pacific, but the Coyotes are hot on their heels.

The Oilers look to close out their four game homestand with a win. A win in regulation or overtime will ensure that the Oilers stay atop the Pacific for at least another day. Can the club put in a full sixty minutes tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We have to find something more consistent within our game where you get into the first and come out with a hard-fought period in the first, and then kind of go from there. That’s the mindset we have to have, and that’s how you’re successful in this league.

Source

That’s Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse on his club’s overtime loss to the Sabres on Sunday.

The Sabres put up just 22 shots in their victory. Winning and losing is a team game, but Oilers goaltender Mike Smith would have liked at least one of those goals back that he surrendered in the first. Probably the Okposo goal with the big rebound. More on Smith in a bit.

THE HURRICANES ARE SAYING

I guess I try to score five points every night, but it’s a little harder than that. You want to score a lot of points and produce for the team, but you don’t think, I have to score a hat trick. But today was one of those days when I got all the bounces.

Source

That’s Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho after scoring five points in Sunday’s 6-2 victory over Minnesota.

Five points (3-2-5) is a pretty good day at the office. Let’s hope Aho (16-11-27) has it out of his system by tonight.

LINES

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • In case it wasn’t painfully obvious, it’s time to hand the starter’s role to Mikko Koskinen. It’s been obvious for a couple of weeks, but Mike Smith just isn’t bringing the groceries as of late. A blistering start to the season has turned into some pedestrian efforts by Smith, and he should be used sparingly going forward. Smith is trotting out a meagre .903 SV% on the season.
  • UP COMES CALEB: Look for Caleb Jones to be in tonight’s lineup. Joel Persson was returned to the Condors after just three games, is there more to Jones’ return than meets the eye?
  • The most obvious look here in the lineup is that Joakim Nygard got some practice time on Connor McDavid’s line, while Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were a pair on the second line. Does this carry over into tonight?
  • The Hurricanes aren’t bad at all. They’re just outside the top ten in goals per game (3.17, T-11th) and they’re 13th in goals allowed per game (3.07 GA/G). Their power play ranks ninth (21.5%), while their PK sits right behind the Oilers at third overall (85.6%).
  • Andrei Svechnikov (13-19-32) leads Carolina in points, followed by Teuvo Teravainen (7-22-29). Look for Teravainen and the aforementioned Sebastian Aho (16-11-27) on a line tonight.
  • NET GAINS: Mikko Koskinen should go for the Oilers tonight (11-3-2, .921 SV% / 2.53 GAA / 1 SO). Look for Petr Mrazek (13-6-1, .903 SV% / 2.60 GAA / 2 SO) to start tonight for the Hurricanes.
  • SICK BAY: Matt Benning is day-to-day (head) for the Oilers. For Carolina, Martin Necas is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Forward Eric Haula remains sidelined with a knee injury.