SASKATOON - The Carolina Hurricanes suffered their first road loss of the preseason, as they were blanked 4-0 by the Edmonton Oilers in a neutral-site exhibition match in Saskatoon.
The Canes outshot the Oilers 30-22, but Connor McDavid's pair of goals in the third period cemented Edmonton's victory.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.
Wins and losses are a simplistic way to judge performance, but don't read too much into tonight's result. In fact, head coach Bill Peters would rather assess this game through the lens of the road trip as a whole.
"We've been on a three-game trip, and I've really liked it. 2-1 on the trip," he said. "A lot of good things and evaluations. Good specialty teams work."
Prior to tonight's road trip finale, the Canes had topped Washington 4-1 and bested Edmonton in their own building, 6-2. The Canes bring a 4-2 record into their preseason finale on Friday.
The Canes dressed a rather young lineup, especially compared to the last couple of games. With more of a dress rehearsal expected for Friday, tonight was a final chance for a number of these kids to show what they could do.
"We didn't try to hide anybody. There were guys playing against 97 (McDavid) and 29 (Draisaitl) quite a bit tonight," Peters said. "That's what happens in this league. If you go on the road and they think they can get a mismatch somewhere, then they try to get it. It's up to you as a player to make sure you can handle those situation. Some guys did and for the most part we were fine, but a couple times we were in trouble too."
So, let's talk specifically about the game real quick. This is the first time in the preseason that the Canes' offense stalled. They outshot the Oilers, but they couldn't break through where it counted.
"We played a good game," Nicolas Roy said. "We just had trouble putting the puck in and a couple mistakes mentally."
"It doesn't help when you don't score any goals. I thought we had a lot of chances, some good quality chances. We were getting the puck to the net for the most part and the forwards were going to the net pretty good," Trevor Carrick said. "When you're down two goals, you need to get that one to close the game a little bit. We were unable to do that and then they got two in the third."
The lack of offense could be attributed to the young lineup, which likely also correlated to the Canes' inability to convert on the power play.
"We didn't have as many power play guys who are going to be on our power play, and that hurt us with the opportunities we had," Peters said. "We could have obviously jumped back into the game with a little better execution on the power play."
Perhaps the best scoring chance came off the stick of Sebastian Aho, who raced in alone but was turned away by Oilers netminder Laurent Brossoit in the second period.
The game got a bit chippy in the third period, and it culminated with Trevor Carrick throwing hands with Eric Gryba in the final minutes of the game.
"I thought for the first two periods it wasn't too bad but in the third they came out and started running around. When you get into a fight in the last minute of the game, you don't really build off that; it's just frustration. I don't know. I thought that guy was kind of running around," Carrick said. "When it's a physical game, I enjoy those."
Carrick brings sandpaper to the lineup on a nightly basis, and that's an element the Hurricanes could certainly use on the ice.
"He's always had that. He's a competitive guy, and he's sneaky tough. He does a good job with it. He's a proud guy," Peters said. "I'd rather have these hard-fought games and get a good read on people than a game with a lack of emotion."
Now in his fourth year pro, Carrick is knocking on the door of an NHL roster spot and has stated a rather strong case in the preseason.
"I'm learning new things every day and trying to play more confident each day," he said. "I kind of know the systems and the expectations Bill Peters has, so I'm just trying to play with some confidence and play my game."
Nicolas Roy drew into the lineup for his first preseason game after a concussion suffered in the NHL Prospects Tournament sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
"It was fun. I was waiting for that moment for a couple of weeks," he said. "It was pretty tough [watching]. You want to prove you're able to play in the NHL and show what you can do."
Roy centered Phil Di Giuseppe and Valentin Zykov in 5-on-5 play and saw power play time, as well.
"The first few shifts I had to pick up the pace a little bit because of the 2-3 weeks off," Roy said. "After that, I felt good."
"I think it was real quick for him coming off the time he missed. I'm not a fan of the two O-zone penalties, both coming at the end of power plays. … Did he make some good plays? Yeah, he did. But it was a quick game for him. He's a real good prospect for us," Peters said. "This is a great learning experience for him to get into a game, and I'm glad he was able to."
It's back home now for the Hurricanes, who close out their seven-game preseason schedule on Friday at PNC Arena against the Washington Capitals.
"We're going to try to go to as close as we can to what our lineup will be," Peters said.