The Oilers road trip continues with a showdown in Detroit with the Red Wings on Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and TVAS, as well as heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
RALEIGH, NC – Two unanswered goals in the second period by the Hurricanes gave them the cushion to close out a 4-1 win over the visiting Oilers.
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” said Oilers centre Mark Letestu. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
At 7:34 of the first, the Oilers capitalized on a Justin Faulk tripping penalty to take a 1-0 lead. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found some space and fired a shot toward Cam Ward and Benoit Pouliot got a piece of it as it went in. The goal was assisted by Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
It was Pouliot’s 100th career NHL goal and Yakupov recorded his 100th career point with a helper.
Yakupov was later hurt when he got tangled up with a linesman after a draw. He left the game and would not return.
“It was unlucky,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “You don’t see things like that happen too often. We, obviously, hope that Nail is not too hurt and hope he’s feeling alright.”
An update on Yakupov was not provided immediately following the game.
With just over 15 seconds left in the first, Jordan Staal tied the game from a steep angle. Staal’s shot deflected off Anders Nilsson’s skate and trickled past the Oilers goaltender.
That was an unfortunate end to Nilsson’s first period because he was dialled in on Carolina’s few scoring chances early. The Oilers netminder stopped Brad Malone in close and stuffed a Joakim Nordstrom wraparound try.
Nilsson made a big save on Jeff Skinner in the second period with the Hurricanes winger coming in all alone on the goalie. But moments later, Carolina took a 2-1 lead.
On a 2-on-1 rush, Elias Lindholm elected to shoot rather than pass and sniped for his third of the season, at 10:16 of the middle frame.
With just over three minutes remaining in the second, the Hurricanes scored to make it 3-1. The puck redirected in off the skate of Skinner at 16:41.
“We didn’t come out hard enough in the second. They’re the type of team that can make you pay for that and they shut things down,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
That Carolina goal came moments after the Oilers hit the post on the other end.
The Oilers couldn’t get any offence going in the third, and while Nilsson made a couple big saves to keep them in it they would not get any closer to the Canes.
Andrej Nestrasil scored the empty-net goal with 50.8 seconds remaining to make it 4-1.
With the loss, the Oilers drop to 7-14-1 and now head to Detroit for a game against the Red Wings on Friday night.