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PREVIEW: Oilers at Hurricanes

by Marc Ciampa / Edmonton Oilers
TV: Sportsnet West

RADIO: 630 CHED & Oilers Radio Network
PUCK DROP: 1:08 p.m. MDT


Sam Gagner is likely in along with Mark Fraser. Ben Scrivens starts and Jesse Joensuu is out. 



RALEIGH, NC - The Edmonton Oilers conclude a four-game road trip today against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers are hoping that they can pull out the win and head home with a successful 2-1-1 record on the trip.

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins tweeted some lineup changes on Saturday for today's game.

Jesse Joensuu (ankle injury) will not play. The team will also go back with Ben Scrivens between the pipes. Scrivens last played Thursday in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. 

With Joensuu out, Eakins said that Sam Gagner will likely play today but he won't 100% commit to it until the Edmonton centre takes pre-game warm-up.

Gagner is encouraged how he feels today. He's going to try in warm up and see how it feels," said Eakins.

If Gagner plays, the question then goes to who sits. Eakins said that Mark Fraser is also healthy and ready to go.

"Fraser is going to play for sure," he said, adding that the odd man out will be Philip Larsen.

Eakins said that Gagner will be back between Taylor Hall and David Perron while Anton Lander will move to the right side to play with Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks.


The head coach said that he liked what he saw from Lander on Friday when the Swedish forward played centre between Hall and Perron in Gagner's absence.

"I thought he did really well. I was proud of the way he played. Anton's got to be a player who wears a bunch of hats. He's got to play left wing, centre, right wing. His next audition is going to be on the right side here," Eakins remarked. 


Carolina is coming off a 5-1 loss in Boston on Saturday afternoon. Eakins said that the team can't be taking them lightly despite the expectation they might be a little tired. 

"They're going to be a little tuckered after yesterday's game. We need to jump on them early," Eakins said. "They've got guys who have speed and skill up front. Guys who can hurt you.

"If we can get 60 minutes out of all our players we should be in it in the end."

-- Marc Ciampa,


OILERS (23-36-9) at HURRICANES (29-29-9)


Last 10: Edmonton 4-3-3; Carolina 3-7-0

Season series: Jordan Eberle scored a power-play goal in overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 10. The Oilers led the game 4-1 early in the second period.

Big story: Carolina traveled home after a 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon. The loss ended a two-game win streak and kept the Hurricanes seven points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Carolina, 4-9-0 in its past 13 games, held the second wild-card spot on Jan. 30.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton faces ending its road trip with three losses in four days. But the Oilers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Jan. 21 and 24, and have at least one point in 11 of 15 games (8-4-3).

"It's quiet progress," coach Dallas Eakins told the Edmonton Journal. "I'm not going to jump up and down and throw my pompoms up, but this could have turned very ugly, where they just started mailing it in. But they're not. I haven't had to go in and rally them much. The guys in the room are doing it themselves. That's massive to me."

Goalie Viktor Fasth played two of the first three games on the trip, defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in a shootout before losing to the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in a shootout on Friday. Ben Scrivens played in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Hurricanes: Carolina trailed 2-1 with 7:11 remaining Saturday before allowing three goals.

"We just gear up for next game," forward Nathan Gerbe said. "We know in this League, you have to have a short-term memory and you get ready for the next one."

After taking 13 shots on goal in a 4-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, forward Jeff Skinner had one against the Bruins. Captain Eric Staal was minus-3, and the power play was 0-for-3 and is 2-for-its-past-41.

"Our best players tonight did not play the way they're capable of, some of them," coach Kirk Muller said.

Goalie Anton Khudobin could start for the first time since March 7. He has backed up Cam Ward the past four games.

Who's hot: Oilers forward David Perron has five points (three goals) in the past seven games. … Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal has eight points (two goals) in a five-game streak. Forward Alexander Semin has nine points (three goals) in a seven-game streak.

Injury report: Oilers defenseman Mark Fraser (groin) did not play Friday. Defenseman Anton Belov (oblique) is out. … Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk (upper body) played Saturday after missing five games. Defenseman John-Michael Liles (concussion) is out.

-- Mike Battaglino,

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