Carolina Falls Flat in Edmonton: Oilers 4, Hurricanes 2

In just two days the Carolina Hurricanes went from beating one of the best teams in the league, to losing to the NHL's worst.  The Edmonton Oilers had not yet won a game in 2010, but they finally put an end to their 13 game winless streak when they met the league's previous doormat, the Hurricanes on Monday night at Rexall Place..

The Canes had been through their own 14 game losing streak earlier in the season and had been in the league's basement for some time, although the team felt as though they had turned a corner this month.  But after taking a 1-0 lead on a long shot by Andrew Alberts, the team seemed to sit back a bit and allowed the Oilers to take over.

Both Paul Maurice and Eric Staal spoke after the game and said that they did not like the team's start, but felt that they got better as the game went along.  The turn-around was not good enough to beat the Oilers though, who played like they wanted this one more than the Canes did.   

Alberts scored his goal just 2:42 into the game when Brandon Sutter won a faceoff and sent the puck right back to him.  Perhaps the Canes felt like this was going to be an easy affair, because they generated few scoring chances in the first period after that goal.

Instead of fading away, the Oilers picked up steam and tied the score shortly afterward when Jean-Francois Jacques knocked in a goal. 

At the 15 minute mark, Gilbert Brule scored and the Oilers jumped out to a 2-1 lead.

Midway through the second period, Joni Pitkanen hooked up with Jussi Jokinen again, and the redhot Finn backhanded a shot past goalie Jeff Deslauriers.  The Canes seemed to have momentum and looked like they might turn the game around.  

But Edmonton scored twice again later in the period and would take back the lead for good.  First, Marc Pouliot shoveled a puck toward Ward from the side of the net and it went in off Niclas Wallin's skate.   Then Sam Gagner knocked in a juicy rebound during a powerplay chance to put the Oilers up by two.  

During the third period, the Canes were able to put on more pressure in the Edmonton zone, but were not able to create many quality chances.   The club had a total of 35 shots on goal, but four of those were taken from outside the blueline, and many of the rest were from past the slot area.  Check out this link to see a shot chart for more information. (click on "total" above the rink to see total shots.)

Not only were most of the official shots on goal from too far out, the Canes missed the net a total of 18 times as well.  It simply was not a good outing for the visitors.

Next up will the the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.

Game Notes:

  • Eric Staal picked up a second assist on the Jokinen goal to keep his scoring streak alive.  He now has points in nine straight games.
  • According to John Forslund, Cam Ward had an "average night" and could have used some more scoring support in this one.  Edmonton's fourth line scored twice and when the grinders score twice, that is never a good sign.
  • Joni Pitkanen has also had better nights, but he did have another good pass to his buddy, Jussi Jokinen for a primary assist. The defenseman played 31 plus minutes and had four shots on goal, but also took two bad penalties.
  • Brandon Sutter was unbelievable in the faceoff circle and won 79% of his draws, (11-14).  He was the only Hurricane above 50%.   The team finished at 48%. 
  • The Canes were credited with more giveaways (13) than hits (11).  
  • Carolina played this game with just 11 forwards.  Supposedly, they were hoping that Erik Cole could play, but he was not able to.  Chad LaRose, (UBI), never made the trip.  Would playing the extra forward have made a difference?  What if Ruutu and Cole can't play again on Wednesday, do they skate short a man again?
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