Muller still seeks first win against Oilers
Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 2:02 AMHURRICANES (8-17-4) at OILERS (13-11-3)
TV: TSN, FS-Carolinas (HD)
: Carolina 2-7-1; Edmonton 4-5-1.
: This is the only meeting of the season between the teams. In their lone meeting last season on Nov. 7, 2010, then-rookie Jeff Skinner
led Carolina to a 7-1 hammering of Edmonton with a goal and two assists at the RBC Center.
: Two teams coming off losses to Calgary are looking for momentum against an unfamiliar opponent. The Oilers come in refreshed after three days of rest and will be looking to atone for a stretch in which they've won just once in five games. Carolina meets them in their second of a grueling three-game, four-day Western Canada swing – a day after coming up just short in a 7-6 loss to Calgary.
: Carolina lost its sixth straight – and fourth since inserting new coach Kirk Muller behind the bench – when Calgary prevailed 7-6 Tuesday night. If anything, that scoreline flattered the 'Canes. Two goals in the final minute – and four in the third period – smacked of the desperation the 'Canes have been feeling over a stretch in which they've won just three of 17. Above all, however, Muller was pleased with the way his team fought back.
"No one is going to feel sorry for us," Muller said. "We scored six, which shows the guys didn't quit. They pushed each other. If they keep doing this, we'll get through this."
: The Oil hasn't played since Saturday, when it lost 5-3 to Calgary at home. With that loss, Edmonton has now dropped four of its last five. The Oilers just ended a run of 10 games in 13 days, including three back-to-back affairs, and the wear showed Saturday, as two late Flames' goals were the difference. When asked about the demanding schedule in his Tuesday press conference, coach Tom Renney couldn't help but place guilt on the grind.
"I think that's had a lot to do with it," Renney said of the grueling schedule. "I think that's kicked the crap out of us, I think it's kicked the crap out of a young team and we've got to find a way to overcome that."
: Eric Staal
scored two goals and added an assist against Calgary, giving him three tallies and four helpers in his past five games. Could the 'Canes captain finally be finding his groove?
: Centers Shawn Horcoff
(bruised ribs) and Anton Lander
(infected hand), as well as winger Ben Eager
(sore back) are probable for Wednesday's game. Forward Taylor Hall
is on injured reserve and will miss 2-4 weeks with a left shoulder injury. Defensemen Corey Potter
(sprained ankle – 1 month) and Cam Barker
(left ankle surgery – 3 months) are also out. … Backup goalie Brian Boucher
(lower body) and defenseman Jay Harrison
(upper body) missed Tuesday's game against Calgary, while defenseman Joni Pitkanen
left the game with an upper-body injury.
: If Edmonton's offense plays anywhere near its potential – and with rest, there is little doubt Nugent-Hopkins & Co. will create chances – Carolina could be in serious trouble. As a team, the 'Canes allow a League-worst 3.41 goals per game, and former Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward
is 38th in GAA (3.29) and 36th in save percentage (.898).
: "I think that fourth goal was a killer on us tonight but they had two choices, quit or keep battling and they did. When you're going through this, as long as they're working hard and the attitude's in it and they're pushing each other, then that's the ground work you’ve got to keep building on." – Kirk Muller on the Hurricanes' resilience, despite their 0-4-0 record in four games since he took over