The Oilers play another pre-season game against the Carolina Hurricanes, this time in Saskatoon, on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast live regionally on Oilers TV or on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MDT.
Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan Strome were the goal scorers and Cam Talbot made 23 saves on 29 shots. Edmonton went 1-for-4 on the man-advantage, won 56 percent of their faceoffs and mustered just 21 shots in the loss.
"Right off the get-go, they were right on us," said Yamamoto post-game. "We have to do a better job preparing and making sure we're quick enough off the get-go."
A slow start for the Oilers allowed the Hurricanes to get out to an early lead in their first of two games this week.
With the Hurricanes generating plenty of chances at the drop of the puck, including an errant shot from Justin Williams while on a 2-on-1 with Teuvo Teravainen, the 'Canes got their first special teams marker past Talbot while on a 5-on-3 power play.
Drake Caggiula was called for slashing at 5:12, then Jujhar Khaira was called for hooking at 5:44, giving Carolina a two-man advantage for 1:28. Talbot did all he could to keep the door shut, stopping a Justin Faulk one-timer from the point but Teravainen opened the scoring after he walked in from the blueline and ripped a laser over Talbot's trapper. Faulk registered the lone assist on the play.
Carolina continued owning much of the momentum following the power play, keeping the Oilers from recording a shot on net until 7:34 of the first.
"I was waiting for that first shot for about 12 minutes," said Darling. "It's nerve-racking in your first game but that's because the guys were just playing great."
The shot department read 11-1 midway through the period but an Oscar Klefbom slap shot - the second shot on goal for the Oilers - at 15:31 sparked some life into the squad. The Swede's clapper caused applause among the fans at Rogers Place and at 17:51, ironically enough, another Klefbom slapshot helped the Oilers get on the board.
Klefbom's shot from the left point was turned aside by the pad of Darling but Strome was on the doorstep. Battling the defenceman in front, Strome was able to get just enough of his stick on the rebound and the puck trickled past Darling to tie the game at 1-1. Klefbom and Jussi Jokinen got the helpers, but the Hurricanes regained the lead not long after.
"We were out-worked tonight, it's as simple as that," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "They had a lot more interest in the game than we did, I thought, and the results showed for it."
On another 'Canes power play, this time after a Leon Draisaitl hooking minor, Teravainen scored his second man-advantage goal of the period at 18:54. Carolina worked the perimeter, eventually floating a shot on goal that Talbot stopped. The rebound popped out to Teravainen at the left circle and the winger made no mistake in putting it past Talbot, who was recovering from the initial shot on goal.
At the end of the first, the Oilers trailed 2-1, were out-shot 15-4, allowed two power-play goals on three attempts and were 46 percent in the faceoff circle.
The squad was unable to limit the Hurricanes special teams onslaught in the second.
In trying to spark his club, McLellan shuffled his lines in the middle period. Yamamoto moved up from the fourth line to the first, taking Jesse Puljujarvi's spot on the right side, while Puljujarvi moved onto the second unit with Milan Lucic and Draisaitl.
"I thought he was one of our best forwards again tonight," said McLellan of Yamamoto. "He's kind of just steadily played his game. He got pucks out when he needed to, made plays, no glaring turnovers. It's been impressive watching him."
That seemed to provide the Oilers with some life, as Hurricanes forward Victor Rask took a hooking penalty after a close chance from Lucic in-tight on Darling.
The 'Canes scored shorthanded, however, after Talbot misplayed the puck. He turned the puck over to Josh Jooris just outside the Oilers zone. Jooris passed the puck over to Lucas Wallmark, who walked in uncontested and unloaded a wrist shot above Talbot's blocker.
Carolina then continued the special teams theme when they were handed another 5-on-3 power play after penalties to Kris Russell for tripping and Caggiula for slashing. Janne Kuokannen slipped home a one-timer 5-hole on Talbot after the puck went from the point to the goal line, then to Kuokkanen in the slot at 15:09.
Yamamoto added a power-play goal for the Oilers to get the team within two before the end of the second period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins moved the puck to Benning at the point. Benning released a wrist shot that Yamamoto deflected past Darling. That was Yamamoto's fifth goal of the pre-season and sixth point but the 'Canes were coasting toward the victory as they iced the game early in the third period.
"It's definitely a confidence boost but at the end of the day, it's a team game," said Yamamoto of producing offence this pre-season. "I feel like I'm getting into better shape and more mid-season shape and it's helping me out a lot."
Jordan Staal scored only 42 seconds into the final frame to make it 5-2. He received a pass from Kuokkanen at the Oilers blueline and Staal wasted no time by rifling it past Talbot to open the third period.
Staal later added his second of the game in the third period. Kuokkanen fired a shot on net and Staal was on the spot to tuck home the rebound, making it 6-2 at 6:49.
"Five-on-five scoring-wise is something we have to get better at," said Staal. "It's nice to get a couple there."
The Oilers will play the Hurricanes again on Wednesday in Saskatoon, SK. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM MDT at SaskTel Centre.