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Oilers expect to see desperate Hurricanes

by Derek Van Diest

HURRICANES (0-4-2) at OILERS (2-4-1)


EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers expect to play a desperate team in the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at Rexall Place.

The Hurricanes still are looking for their first win of the season (0-4-2). They are the only team in the NHL without a win.

"The most dangerous dog is a wounded dog," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "These guys have been wounded. We understand that. We respect their hunger. That is definitely a group we cannot take lightly right now."

The Oilers were in a similar position to the Hurricanes earlier in the week, searching for their first win of the season.

The Oilers were winless through their first five games of the season, but go in against Carolina on a two-game win streak. Edmonton has not won three consecutive games since Jan. 26-29 last season.

"I've been in that spot plenty of times in my career, where Carolina is," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said. "They're struggling. They just lost a game in the first of a back-to-back. They're coming into an area not playing well, but you never know what can happen. There is so much parity in this League that any team can play well on any night and they're certainly capable of that. So we're not going to take them lightly. We want to get off to a good start and make sure that we start playing our game real early and keep that going the whole game."

After losing to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 17 to start their current seven-game homestand, Edmonton has beaten the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 and the Washington Capitals 3-2.

Carolina lost 5-0 to the Calgary Flames on Thursday in the third game of a five-game road trip.

"We should be desperate; we should be the most desperate team between the two clubs here [Friday]," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We have to find a way to get into the win column. In this League, if you overlook anybody you're not going to win. You have play well, you have play hard, you have to have a foundation that allows you to have success and the structure protects the individual. If you do those types of things then you are going to give yourselves a chance to win every night and that's what we have to return to here this evening in Edmonton."

The Hurricanes remain without center Eric Staal, who is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. He was on the ice for the Hurricanes' optional morning skate Friday and could be back in the lineup by the end of the road trip, Oct 28 at the Canucks.

"That Tuesday morning we'll make that decision," Peters said. "That's me being an optimist. It's definitely progressing in the right direction. There are no setbacks there, hopefully, [and] we get him in sooner rather than later."

The Hurricanes expect to make changes to the lineup against the Oilers with a number of players sick.

"We have some guys back at the hotel under the weather a little bit so it'll depend on them," Peters said. "We're going to bring in the two [defensemen] that didn't play in Calgary. Jay Harrison and Brett Bellemore will be in the lineup, and the rest will be dictated by how they feel at 5 or 5:30 p.m. [local time]."

Goaltender Anton Khudobin will start for the Hurricanes; Ben Scrivens will make his fifth consecutive start for the Oilers.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Jiri Tlusty - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Zach Boychuk

Brad Malone - Patrick Brown - Brody Sutter

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Jay Harrison - Tim Gleason

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Ryan Murphy

Injured: Patrick Dwyer (lower body), John-Michael Liles (lower body), Eric Staal (upper body), Jordan Staal (leg), Nathan Gerbe (lower body)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell

Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne

Nikita Nikitin - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Will Acton, Brad Hunt

Injured: Viktor Fasth (groin), Luke Gazdic (shoulder)

Status report: Fasth and Gazdic are getting closer to returning, according to Eakins. … Hurricanes assistant coach Steve Smith is back in Edmonton for the first time since being let go by the Oilers at the end of last season.

Who's hot: Nugent-Hopkins has one goal in each of his past two games. … Hall has six points in seven games this season. … Tlusty has four goals and one assist in six games.

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