Things didn’t take long to head down hill for the Canes; a Jake Bean turnover early in the first period gave Zack Kassian the chance he needed to put Edmonton ahead. Later on, after failing to capitalize on their own power play chance, the Canes conceded a power-play goal to Milan Lucic to see their deficit double before the end of the frame.
The second period featured more chances, most notably an unsuccessful Sebastian Aho breakaway and 5-on-3 opportunity that went without a goal, but Carolina was unable to capitalize on their 21 shots after the second frame. The Oilers’ defense held strong despite the onslaught and the frame closed out with the same score as the first.
After a few power play chances were traded in the third period, Connor McDavid shifted the game’s complexion with two impressive goals in just over a minute and a half. The young captain’s skill was on display as he scored shorthanded for his first, and added another of the highlight-reel variety to give the fans in Saskatoon their money’s worth.
A Bean penalty and a Trevor Carrick/Eric Gryba fight were all the game had left to give, and the end result was one for the Canes to learn from. Perhaps those who played two nights ago had expected similar Carolina dominance, but the road team’s inexperience, particularly on the back end, showed as they simply wilted under a strong Edmonton attack. It was a true taste of NHL-caliber forwards for a very young defensive group, and one that will be beneficial for them as they develop.
The Hurricanes will close out the preseason with a home tilt against the Capitals. Bill Peters said postgame that the final contest will be somewhat of a “dress rehearsal,” so expect an NHL-ready squad at PNC Arena on Friday.