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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers at Hurricanes

The Oilers conclude their three-game Eastern Conference road swing against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers end their three-game Eastern Conference jaunt Sunday afternoon versus the Carolina Hurricanes.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet West or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game at CAR 02.16.20

 

INSIDE THE OILERS

News and notes from the Oilers Dressing Room, including the recall of Tyler Benson and Markus Granlund.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

RALEIGH, NC - There's no rest during the stretch drive as the Oilers compete in their second game in two afternoons, facing the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Sunday.

The contest comes a day after the Oilers got past the Florida Panthers with a 4-1 win. 

Kailer Yamamoto netted his first career three-point effort while his linemates Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two points apiece themselves, as the Oilers picked up a big two points for 68 total in what is a tight Pacific Division playoff race.

IN FINE FORM

That aforementioned trio has produced aplenty while the club's been short of bodies up front.

Draisaitl, Yamamoto and Nugent-Hopkins have combined for 17 points in the past three games while Connor McDavid, James Neal, Joakim Nygard and, most recently, Zack Kassian have been out.

But no player has been more impactful than Draisaitl, who leads the National Hockey League with 92 points in 58 games, earning early Hart Trophy consideration for his output.

"You look at what he's doing for our team," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said Saturday post-game.

"Without a doubt, he should be there."

Joining Tippett in praising the Deutschland Dangler was Yamamoto following Saturday's big win.

"He's the second-best player in the world for a reason," Yamamoto said. "Things he does with the puck, not many people can do it. It's unbelievable."

END OF THE TOUR

Sunday's date with the Hurricanes is the final match of Edmonton's short but busy three-game Eastern Conference road swing, capping what some Oilers have described as one of the more demanding voyages of the season.

"It's probably one of the toughest road trips of the year," defenceman Adam Larsson, who scored his first goal of the season Saturday, said. 

"You're travelling a long way and playing a lot of games in four days."

The Oilers have an opportunity to obtain four out of a possible six points on the grueling jaunt, which would be chalked up as a successful swing.

"To grind two points out tonight going into tomorrow, we should have a good feeling," Larsson continued.

Awaiting the Oilers are the Carolina Hurricanes - a squad that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final in '18-19 - who are battling for re-entry into the postseason soiree. The Canes are currently two points out of a Eastern Conference wild card spot and three off a Metropolitan Division berth.

"It's going to be like this the rest of the year," Larsson said. "Pretty much every team we play now is fighting for a spot in the playoffs. It's almost like a mini playoff. Every single game matters.

"If you slip, it could cost you and if you keep going, it could look good in the end."

Video: PRE-RAW | Dave Tippett 02.16.20

After three strong periods of structurally-sound hockey in Florida, Coach Tippett wants his group to treat Sunday's road trip finale simply as an extension of that play.

"We look at this as the fourth period of the two games we play this weekend," Tippett said. "We played three strong periods yesterday and we want to look at this as a fourth period."

"Our structure was pretty good last night and we weren't giving much away and it's got to be the same thing tonight. We're playing a good, quick team so we'll have to defend very well." Tippett said. 

LINEUP NOTES

During his hotel availability on Sunday morning, Tippett said the lineup would remain the same as Saturday barring an injury to one player that makes him a game-time decision. The full lineup will be made clear during warmup in Raleigh where Mike Smith will make his 30th start of the season. 

Video: PRE-RAW | Riley Sheahan 02.16.20

PREVIEW

OILERS (31-21-6) vs HURRICANES (33-21-3)

TV: 2:06 p.m. MT; Televised on Sportsnet West

Head-to-Head:

This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Oilers and Hurricanes.

Carolina defeated the Oilers by a score of 6-3 back on Dec. 10 at Rogers Place.

Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton, Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov all registered two points in the game. 

For the Oilers, Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian scored two goals.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers dispatched the Florida Panthers in the first of this weekend's matinee back-to-back, defeating the Cats 4-1 at BB&T Center.

Kailer Yamamoto recorded his first-ever three-point outing while Mikko Koskinen made 33 saves in the win.

Leon Draisaitl captured a goal and assist as he continues to pace the National Hockey League in scoring with 92 points.

With the victory, the Oilers improved their record to 31-21-6. They have 68 points and sit second in the Pacific Division prior to Saturday night's round of NHL action.

Hurricanes team scope:

Carolina thumped the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Friday to alter their record to 33-21-3 in the '19-20 campaign.

Like the Oilers, the Hurricanes are grinding for a playoff position - whether it's in the Eastern Conference wild card or Metropolitan Division. The Canes are currently two points removed from a wild card spot and three away from third in the Metro Division with 69 points.

Aho leads the Hurricanes with 31 goals but Tervainen tops the team in assists and points with 43 and 55, respectively. Goaltender Petr Mrazek has 19 wins this season and James Reimer has a .917 save percentage.

CAR is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

By the Numbers:

Leon Draisaitl is on a four-game point streak (4G, 5A). ... Yamamoto has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last five games. ... Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1G, 6A) has seven points in his last four. ... Edmonton is 16-12-2 on the road. ... The Oilers have the NHL's best power play, clicking at 29.4 percent.

The Hurricanes are 19-9-1 are PNC Arena this season. ... The Canes own a plus-27 goal differential this season. ... Carolina is 5-0 in shootouts in the '19-20 campaign. ... The Hurricanes have the League's 11th-ranked power play with a 21.6 percent rating. ... The club is eighth on the PK with an 82.7 percent penalty kill.

Injury Report:

OILERS - Joakim Nygard (hand) is on IR; Kris Russell (concussion) is on IR; James Neal (ankle) is on IR; Connor McDavid (quad) is out.

HURRICANES - Jordan Martinook (upper body) is day-to-day; Dougie Hamilton (fractured fibula) is on IR.

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