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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers at Hurricanes

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers



News, notes and line combinations from Saturday's Oilers practice in Raleigh North Carolina.





RALEIGH, NC - The Oilers take on the Hurricanes in an afternoon game at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday. In their first meeting of the season, Oilers winger Jordan Eberle scored two goals and an assist as Edmonton took a 6-3 decision.

The Oilers are hoping for same effort, better result coming into this contest. Against Chicago on Saturday night, the Oilers peppered Corey Crawford with 47 shots and got a 38-save performance from Ben Scrivens. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks battled back and took the 2-1 decision in a shootout.

“It was a good game,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We had 47 shots. You have to be doing something right to get those shots and we didn’t have any power play opportunities so it was a good game by our guys, unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but I liked the way we played. We talked to the guys today about it. We want to be proud of our effort, but we can’t be content or satisfied. We want to get some more wins here and we have to play the same way tomorrow.”

The Oilers want to have the same mentality they had in Chicago, and same effort against Carolina.

“I think we’ve still got to play the same way,” Mark Fayne said. “I think last night we found our identity for the first two periods. We controlled the pace of the game, we forced them to chip the puck. They weren’t making all the plays they normally do. The Carolina team has a lot of skilled guys too, they definitely can make plays and possess the puck. We’re going to have to get on them and try to keep the puck out of their hands.”


The Oilers and Hurricanes faceoff at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. The early start is seen by the Oilers as more of a blessing than a hinderance.

“I love them,” Fayne said of afternoon games. “Just wake up, go to the rink and play. I love it.”

Benoit Pouliot agreed.

“I like it,” Pouliot said. “I enjoy every afternoon game. It should be like that all the time. I think those 7 or 8 p.m. games, you’ve got a long routine to do. When it’s an afternoon one, you just get up and go play. It’s fun, I think everyone enjoys it. I don’t know our success rate this year with afternoon games, but you just got to be ready. In the morning, you just get up, eat breakfast then go play.”


Derek Roy scored the Oilers lone goal on Friday night, a skilled play in which he spun around on the spot and fired a shot past Crawford.

Roy, a veteran of over 700 NHL games, has brought more than just point production to the Oilers. He has developed chemistry with Nail Yakupov, helping the young winger develop. He has also provided a veteran presence and a good example in the Oilers locker room.

“He’s brought a lot,” Pouliot said. “A lot of leadership. He’s a pro. He’s a professional, he shows up at the rink, he knows what to do, he does his job, he works hard every day and it rubs on every guy in there. You see a guy like that doing it (then you want to do it). Nail has had a lot of success with him now and he’s still doing it. It helps a lot. Derek has been top notch ever since he showed up here. It gives a little boost for everyone else as well. You want to do good, you want to do what he’s doing out there so it helps everyone.”

Roy has 14 points (6-8-14) in 29 games this season with the Oilers.


Oilers centre Anton Lander is recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered on February 18, against Boston. Lander skated between Teddy Purcell and Yakupov at practice on Saturday, with Roy taking a maintenance day. Although he is close to returning, Lander will not play against Carolina. He could be back for their next game however.

“Anton is very close, but he’s not going to go tomorrow,” Nelson said Saturday. “We’re looking at possibly Detroit as a game he can come back.”

The line combinations and defensive pairings are expected to go unchanged. However, Richard Bachman will start in net against the Hurricanes in relief of Scrivens. Bachman has seen action in just one game this season. In Oklahoma City, Bachman was 14-4-3 with three shutouts and a save percentage of .921 and GAA of 2.30.

-- Chris Wescott,




OILERS (18-36-11) AT HURRICANES (24-32-7)


Season series:
Jordan Eberle had two goals and an assist and the Edmonton Oilers scored four unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 at Rexall Place on Oct. 24. Jay Harrison had a goal and an assist for Carolina. The six goals the Oilers scored are a season-high.

Oilers team scope:
Derek Roy did not participate in practice Saturday after scoring the lone Oilers goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Roy was taking a maintenance day, according to the Oilers, and is expected to play Sunday. Forward Anton Lander, who has missed the past six games because of a shoulder injury, skated in Roy's spot but will not be ready to play. Richard Bachman is expected to start in goal for Edmonton. He relieved Victor Fasth in a game against the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 14 and also faced the final two shooters in a shootout against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 16 after Fasth was injured; it's the only NHL action Bachman has seen this season. Ben Scrivens has started the past seven games in goal with Fasth on injured reserve.

Hurricanes team scope:
Defenseman Ryan Murphy, who has been out since Feb. 5 because of a lower-body injury, is expected to play, according to the Hurricanes. Defenseman Jack Hillen, acquired before the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, did not practice and will miss the game because of an upper-body injury. Coach Bill Peters announced Cam Ward will start in goal. Peters also experimented with splitting up Eric Staal and Jordan Staal in practice, and will use them on different lines against the Oilers. Eric will play left wing with center Victor Rask and right wing Elias Lindholm, and Jordan will center left wing Nathan Gerbe and right wing Andrej Nestrasil.

Follow Evan Sporer on Twitter: @ev_sporer

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