But the Hurricanes had other plans.
Down three goals midway through the second period, Alexander Semin scored the first of six consecutive Carolina goals in a span of 17:27, and Elias Lindholm had his first career hat trick in a 7-4 win at PNC Arena on Sunday.
Lindholm finished with five points, including an empty-net goal, to seal the win for the Hurricanes (25-32-7). Jeff Skinner scored twice on the power play.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a hat trick and four points for the Oilers (18-37-11).
Semin's goal will be replayed on sports highlight shows for a while. After being tripped in the slot, Semin fell to the ice, gathered his own rebound and made a one-handed stick sweep over his head to slip the puck under goaltender Richard Bachman. The goal ignited the offense, including three straight power-play goals.
"The other guy slashed me in my legs and I go down," Semin said. "Just see the puck and turn it. I just shoot for the net. That's it."
Eric Staal, who had four assists, had a hard time describing what he saw.
"It's tough to put something like that into words," the Carolina captain said. "It's just a really nice goal. That's a pretty circus goal. He's got skill. That's pretty evident. You feel the momentum shift a little bit more, and the energy picked up and we carried it on from there."
Edmonton struck first after a Carolina turnover in the neutral zone. Nugent-Hopkins engineered a 2-on-1, keeping the puck and sending a shot inside the far post for a 1-0 lead at 10:19. Jordan Eberle started the play by knocking down Rasmus Rissanen's pass and steering the puck to Nugent-Hopkins along the boards to earn the assist.
Eberle made it 2-0 on a second-period power play. Matt Hendricks dug out the rebound of Nugent-Hopkins' slap shot and fed it to Eberle with a wide-open net at the left post at 6:45. It was Eberle's first goal since Feb. 2, a span of 15 games.
The Oilers pushed the lead to 3-0 less than two minutes later on another power-play goal. Nugent-Hopkins gathered the puck near the goal line and got off a high shot on Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, before tucking the rebound under the goaltender at 7:59 for his second of the game.
Despite the early deficit, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters believed his team was still in the game.
"I thought we were good early," Peters said. "It didn't show on the scoreboard, but I didn't mind our start at all. We turned the puck over on the first one and then two power-play goals. We've got some young guys who haven't played there."
Staal had a similar take on the first half of the game.
"We were down 3-0, but we were playing better than it showed," said Staal, who won 20 of 23 faceoffs. "We found our legs and got the confidence going offensively, and from there we just got the job done."
That's when Semin got the Carolina offense in gear.
"It doesn't happen unless he's working and not giving up on the play," Skinner said. "It was nice to see. I think the guys responded after that."
Carolina cut the deficit to 3-2 on Lindholm's 12th of the season. Ron Hainsey's backhand pass from the top of the slot found the Swedish forward at the right post for a redirect at 13:00.
Moments later, Semin found another way to provide offense; he drew consecutive penalties against Justin Schultz and Teddy Purcell 54 seconds apart to give Carolina 1:06 of 5-on-3 time, and the Hurricanes quickly capitalized. Staal fed Skinner on the back door for his 17th of the season at 15:23.
Andre Nestrasil scored on the power play to give Carolina its first lead of the game at 1:40 of the third. When Purcell headed for the bench after breaking his stick, Nestrasil found the top shelf from the slot during a two-man advantage to make it 4-3.
Carolina went right back on the power play following a high-sticking penalty on Eberle. Skinner scored at 6:18 on a long wrist shot that Bachman could not track.
Lindholm scored his second of the game 31 seconds later, taking a pass from Victor Rask across the crease to make it 6-3.
"What changed it around for him is he started to skate, he started to work," Peters said about Lindholm, who earned assists on the two previous power-play goals. "He was much more aggressive and quicker in the second and third period. When he's moving his feet, he's a very effective player. He's still a young kid. Tonight will go a long way toward helping him become a solid NHL player."
Nugent-Hopkins jumped on a Carolina turnover in the slot and beat Ward under the crossbar for his 19th of the season at 9:31 to complete the hat trick.
Staal set up Lindholm for the final goal into the empty net.
"I didn't think I would have another chance to get one," Lindholm said. "It was pretty nice of Eric to give me that pass."
The Oilers played without Benoit Pouliot, who was scratched because of an illness. Edmonton struggled to find the right mix to play with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle.
"We used four different wingers in that spot for the first couple of periods," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "It does throw things out of whack. Obviously, when you've got a guy like (Pouliot), a big, rangy guy that can eat minutes and is very effective, you miss him out of the lineup."
Nelson also gave credit to Semin for his role in changing the momentum of the game.
"It was desperation on his part. He made a nice play and really sparked their team," Nelson said. "And then we got in penalty trouble. We got in that 5-on-3 situation and they capitalized and they just got stronger as the game went on."