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Preview: Oilers vs. Hurricanes

Aho set to play in 300th career game

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes host the Edmonton Oilers for the first and only time of the season on Sunday afternoon.

The Canes topped the New Jersey Devils, 5-2, on Friday night in Raleigh to earn their 33rd win of the season and improve to 19-9-1 at home.

The Keys

"Everyone's basically in it still," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said on Saturday, explaining how tight the standings are, "so it's just about us having to play that 60-minute game and getting contributions from everybody. That's what we need."

That's essentially what the Canes got on Friday in their return to Raleigh following a four-game road trip. They played a fairly complete game - "We came up big at the right times," Brind'Amour said afterward - and got contributions from throughout their lineup.

Video: Niederreiter, Mrazek propel Hurricanes to victory

Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas each recorded a goal and an assist. Brett Pesce had two assists. Warren Foegele tallied. The Canes' top line hooked up for a highlight-reel goal. Joel Edmundson raced out of the box and scored on a breakaway. Petr Mrazek made 35 saves.

The Canes also netted the first goal of the game for the first time in seven days. The team is now 23-3-1 this season when scoring first.

Aho 300

Sebastian Aho is set to play in his 300th career game. He will become the fifth player selected in the 2015 NHL Draft to play in 300 games and ranks third in his draft class in goals (114) and fourth in points (250).

PROJECTED LINEUP

After recording an assist on Friday, Aho is riding an eight-game point streak (7g, 5a), his longest such stretch of the season. Aho has already tallied a career-high 31 goals in 57 games and ranks second on the team in scoring with 53 points.

The Last Meeting

The Canes landed in Edmonton for their first game of a five-game swing through Western Canada and Colorado in mid-December. The Canes built a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to see the Oilers chip away at the deficit and equal the score in the third period. Led by Jordan Martinook's game-winner, the Canes then responded with three unanswered goals in the third period to earn a 6-3 win.

Video: Aho scores a pair in Hurricanes' 6-3 win vs. Oilers

"We believe in this group," James Reimer said after the win. "There are going to be momentum swings. That's how it is. That's how hockey is. You just stick with your game plan and trust it. If you execute, dig in and want it, usually it's yours."

The Opposition

The Connor McDavid-less Oilers were in action on Saturday afternoon in South Florida, as they tallied their 31st win of the season in a 4-1 final again the Florida Panthers. Leon Draisaitl's 33rd goal of the season, scored just 13 seconds into the third period, held up as the game-winner, while Mikko Koskinen made 33 saves. The Oilers currently occupy second place in the Pacific Division with 68 points in 58 games.

"They still have one of the best players in the game," Brind'Amour said, in reference to Draisaitl. "Now, they have to start relying on some other guys a little bit who have maybe not had the opportunity, but they have a lot of talent on that team. Right now, it isn't so much about the other teams we're playing because they're all good."


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