EDMONTON, AB - Today is an important game for Edmonton. While early in the season, showing they can bounce back quickly from a letdown game is another step in the right direction.
On Sunday, the Oilers dropped a home loss to the Sabres, 6-2. The team and the coaches were disappointed with the effort of that game. A good sign for them is they came in the day after, put the loss behind them and got back to work.
"That game is gone," said Oilers centre Mark Letestu. "That's kind of what yesterday is about, just putting it to bed and move on. When the guys came in this morning the total focus was on Carolina. We're still 2-1, we're still going the right way in our segment and I think we've definitely put it behind us. That's what's different this year. This team, win or loss, we're focused on the next group. I think that will hold true tonight."
Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot would like to rebound from the Buffalo loss, in which he allowed six goals on his first 17 shots. Through the first few games, Talbot feels he's been moving too much in the crease and not playing comfortable.
"Just trying to play a little more controlled, I think is the best word for it," said Talbot. "Sometimes, because of certain situations, maybe I have been moving a little bit and opening up some holes. It's just getting back to the basics and controlling my game and playing the way I know how."
So how does Talbot fix being over-active between the pipes?
"It's just a mindset and trying to stay patient and trusting the guys in front of me," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing: just trusting my position and trusting that if they do make the pass I can get there and just focusing on the first shot and battling it out from there."
Talbot is 2-1-0 on the season with a 4.62 goals-against average and .869 save percentage.
FAYNE READY TO GO
Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne has yet to play a game for the Oilers, but that changes tonight. Fayne replaces Eric Gryba in the lineup on the third pairing with Darnell Nurse.
"I'm definitely excited," said Fayne. "This will be my first regular season game in the new building."
Not being a regular in the lineup has the NHL veteran off his game, but he gets a chance tonight to show the coaching staff he belongs on the roster every game night.
"It's always a tough thing when you're in and out of the lineup or on the bubble," he said. "Really, all you can do is go out there and try and play your best game and not give them an opportunity to take you out."
COMBATTING THE PP
The Oilers face a Hurricanes team tonight that has lost both of their first games, after taking leads in each, but they have some ability to score when given the man advantage.
The Canes have three goals on six power plays this season. A lot of it is due to their ability to get pucks through from the blueline and muscle their way to rebounds in front. Tonight, the Oilers penalty kill will try to jump in the shooting lanes and limit those juicy loose pucks near Talbot.
"Probably most important is shot lanes with (Justin) Faulk and (Teuvo) Teravainen back there," said Letestu. "They're both getting pucks through to the net with pretty good success. They've got some big bodies around the net that have cleaned up some rebounds. We don't want them to have any free sets where they can get set to their game plan. We want to try and pressure that and keep that away from that. But once they do get in that set we have to be in a lane to make sure we're protecting Cam around the net."
In addition to the one change on the blueline, the Oilers will sit rookie first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi. Anton Slepyshev slides in with Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl on the third line.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (2-1-0) vs. HURRICANES (0-0-2)
TV: 7:00 p.m. MT; Televised on Sportsnet Oilers
Oilers team scope:Connor McDavid was named the NHL's first star of the week after registering three goals and three assists for six points in three games. ... Leon Draisaitl is second on the team in scoring with two goals and three assists for five points in three outings. ... Oilers power play is ninth in the NHL at 27.3% and the penalty kill is 21st at 78.6%. ... After three games, the Oilers have averaged 4.67 goals per game (14 goals in three games), ranking them second in the NHL, behind only the Colorado Avalanche, who scored six goals in their one game.
Hurricanes team scope: Lee Stempniak and Justin Faulk each lead the Hurricanes in scoring with three points (one goal, two assists). ... Jeff Skinner has a goal and an assist for a couple points and Victor Rask has two markers to lead the team. ... Carolina is tied for second in the League in power play at 50% (3-for-6).