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Game Analysis: Oilers At Hurricanes

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Carolina’s offense sputtered again and were shut out by Cam Talbot and the Oilers in Edmonton’s 1-0 overtime win.

Cam Ward made 26 saves but got no goal support from the Hurricanes, who lost 1-0 in overtime to Edmonton.
Cam Ward made 26 saves but got no goal support from the Hurricanes, who lost 1-0 in overtime to Edmonton.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes were shut out Monday in Edmonton, falling to the Oilers 1-0 in overtime. Cam Ward stopped the first 26 shots he faced, but was beaten on a second-chance shot by former teammate Andrej Sekera to give the Oilers the win.

Three Observations

1. The Hurricanes are back to not scoring goals, managing just 15 in their last nine games. As the season nears the midway point, Carolina has only four players on pace to score 15 goals: Jeff Skinner (30), Justin Faulk (29), Victor Rask (22) and Eric Staal (16). That would match the four 15-goal scorers they have last year as one of the league's worst offensive teams. When the team won the Cup in 2006, they had a 40-goal scorer (Staal, 45), three players with 30 goals (Justin Williams, 31; Rod Brind`Amour, 31; Erik Cole, 30), and two more with more than 20 (Matt Cullen, 25; Cory Stillman 21).

2. So the team needs more goals, making Bill Peters’ lineup decisions in the 3-on-3 overtime even more befuddling. Peters used two defensemen and one forward, hoping that his smooth-skating and offensive-minded blueliners could create chances while still holding down the fort in their own end. Faulk and Noah Hanifin did generate some opportunities — and wow, is it nice to think of these two playing alongside each other down the road at even strength — but didn't create any side-to-side chances that maybe attacking forwards might have attempted to get Cam Talbot off balance. Furthermore, Peters deployed Skinner with Ron Hainsey and John-Michael Liles on the game-ending shift, and it's incredibly curious for Carolina to use a player who took zero faceoffs during the game to take a draw in a situation in which possession is so important. Skinner lost the faceoff, and the puck eventually ended up in the back of Carolina's net.

3. If anyone was going to beat Carolina, it might as well be Sekera. The Oilers defenseman earned his big money deal from Edmonton based on his 131 games in Carolina, and while the Oilers still have a way to go on D he is a worthwhile addition to any blueline. That being said, it's clear the Hurricanes made the right choice in letting Sekera go thanks to the play of their three rookie defenders, who all have two more years on their entry-level contracts.

Number To Know

0 — Penalty minutes for Jaccob Slavin through 21 games this season. He is one of three defenseman in the league to play at least 20 games and not take an infraction. San Jose’s Matt Tennyson has no penalties in 23 games played (logging 11:26 a night), while Colorado’s Nate Guenin possesses one of the league’s emptiest stat lines through 25 games: no goals, no assists and no PIMs in 13:05 of ice time a night. Slavin has played more minutes than both despite playing in less games.

Plus

Cam Ward — You can't win without goals, and for the fifth time in Ward's last six starts the Hurricanes managed two or fewer goals. Ward made 26 saves and earned the team a point, but the Hurricanes were blanked for fourth time this season when he started in net. Yes, the rebound was juicy on Sekera’s game-winner, but it's hard to blame a goalie when he plays more than 63 minutes without letting one by.

Minus

Jeff Skinner — You can't be scared to block a wrist shot in overtime, but Skinner clearly flinched at the idea of stopping Sekera’s wrister during 3-on-3 play. The end result was an Oilers win.