The Carolina Hurricanes lived up to their .500 record with another inconsistent performance as they once again started out slowly, gained momentum in the second period, then battled back to tie the game in the third before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in overtime, 5-4 on Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
Taylor Hall lit the lamp on his first shot of the game just 1:33 into the contest to give the home team an early lead.
Tuomo Ruutu tied things up on a powerplay goal as he knocked in his own rebound after trying to re-direct a Jeff Skinner pass. It was the Finn's fourth goal of the season.
But about five minutes later, Nail Yakupov made it 2-1 as he surprised Cam Ward, beating him five-hole. Then with 1:46 left in the period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 3-1 as he beat Ward high glove side on a beauty of a shot almost from his knees.
Other than the Carolina powerplay, the period was almost all Oilers as they outshot the visitors 14-6.
After another early goal, just 1:40 into the second period, the Hurricanes did start to assert themselves and came back.
Jordan Staal made it 4-2 on a nice shot after a hustle play by Nathan Gerbe behind the net. At this point, Muller had switched up the lines and Kevin Westgarth was battling in front of Oilers goalie, Devan Dubnyk.
While the Canes outshot the Oilers, 14-8 that period, the score stayed 4-2 going into the third.
Carolina increased their intensity, but Gerbe was called for tripping 6:29 into the final stanza and it looked like the momentum might switch back to the Oilers.
But during the kill, Eric Staal brought the puck up the ice on a semi-breakaway and waited Dubnyk out, as the goalie came too far out of the crease. The captain tucked the puck easily behind the goalie to make it a one goal game.
Just a bit later, Riley Nash was called for a five minute boarding major and was ejected from the game, but the Canes were able to kill the major and continued to generate chances. When the teams were back at even strength, Jeff Skinner made a very nice play, reaching to keep the puck onsides, then rifled it to the net. The shot beat Dubnyk to tie the score.
Skinner was high-sticked on his way to the bench shortly after that play, but there was no call which infuriated the Carolina bench.
The game went to overtime and Justin Faulk was called for boarding, as Nugent-Hopkins turned into the boards as Faulk had committed to check him. During the ensuing 4-on-3, the Canes had another great shorthanded chance, but Dubnyk turned away Ron Hainsey at the doorstep.
The Oilers finally set themselves up in the Carolina zone and Jordan Eberle won it at the far post as Ward had committed on the other side.
At the end of the day, the Hurricanes were happy with their come back effort and they are to be commended for not giving up and earning a point. But it was another inconsistent performance which did not help their mediocre record of 13-13-6.
Next up will be Calgary on Thursday night.
- Muller switched the lines up a bit midway through the game. Tlusty was moved up to the first line with Eric Staal and Ruutu. Skinner was with Elias Lindholm and Patrick Dwyer. Kevin Westgarth got some time with Gerbe and Jordan Staal. Westgarth was still low man with 8:15 of ice time. Radek Dvorak had 8:47. Faulk was high man again with 25:14.
- The Oilers ended up with 29 shots on goal to 28 for Carolina. Gerbe and Jordan Staal had four each to lead the Canes.
- Muller was obviously unhappy with the officiating. It would be easier to accept the boarding calls if the officials didn't miss the high-sticking and a possible interference against Edmonton late in the third period, but the Canes have no one to blame but themselves for falling behind, 4-1.
- Jay Harrison had a team high five blocked shots. The team was credited with 14 for the game.
- Carolina had 30 hits and were led by J. Staal, Tim Gleason, and Ruutu with four each.
- Post game interviews at at Canes PR.com.